Dallas Stars trade Ben Bishop contract, seventh-round pick to Buffalo Sabres
The Stars created more salary cap flexibility on Friday by sending Ben Bishop’s contract and their 2022 seventh-round pick to Buffalo for future considerations.
Bishop’s career ended in December due to a chronic knee injury that thwarted his potential comeback in Dallas, but has not officially retired because he is still under contract. If he retires while under contract, he would not be paid out the remainder of his deal.
Bishop is under contract for one more season with a cap hit of $4.917 million. By trading Bishop before Oct. 15, the Stars will not have to pay Bishop’s $1 million signing bonus for the 2022-23 season, and Buffalo will take on his $2.5 million base salary for next season.
The move makes it easier for the Stars to navigate the salary cap this season without Bishop on LTIR, and allows them to potentially avoid performance bonus overages in 2023-24 (Joe Pavelski has performance bonuses in his contract for next season).
— Matthew DeFranks (@MDeFranks) June 10, 2022
Future considerations is a term used by the NHL because a team technically has to give up something in a trade, but the Stars are not expected to receive anything from the Sabres. The trade allows the Sabres to inch closer to the $61 million salary floor.
The salary cap is $82.5 million for next season.
The seventh-round pick is a small price for the Stars to pay for salary cap flexibility.
Bishop spent all of last season on long-term injured reserve, a mechanism that allows teams to exceed the salary cap, but can be difficult to maximize the amount of available cap space. Daily roster moves require creativity, and players on entry-level contracts with performance bonuses are more difficult to recall from the minors.
Teams that also end the season using LTIR have performance bonus overages applied to their cap the following season.
For example, in 2022-23, the Stars will have $675,000 less to work with because of bonuses paid to Jake Oettinger ($537,500), Jason Robertson ($82,500) and Jacob Peterson ($55,000) in 2021-22. In 2020-21, the Stars were handed a performance bonus overage of more than $3 million because of bonuses accrued in 2019-20.
Without Bishop on LTIR, the Stars would not have to worry about performance bonuses affecting their cap in 2023-24. Ty Dellandrea ($537,500), Joe Pavelski ($500,000), Thomas Harley ($425,000) and Peterson ($82,500) could all hit performance bonuses of some kind, which could have impacted the Stars the following year if they were using LTIR.
Of course, it is still possible that the Stars use LTIR next season — Anton Khudobin will be returning from hip surgery — but it is no longer the certainty it was when Bishop was on the roster.