LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Kings acquired goalie Ben Bishop from the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday in a trade including goalie Peter Budaj and an exchange of draft picks.
The Kings will pair Bishop with Jonathan Quick in a remarkable veteran goaltending tandem down the stretch of the regular season. Quick returned only Saturday from a 59-game absence with a serious groin injury.
The Kings gave up Budaj, junior defenseman Erik Cernak, a 2017 seventh-round pick and another conditional pick. Los Angeles received Bishop and Tampa Bay’s 2017 fifth-round pick.
Both teams are scrapping to get into playoff position over the next six weeks. The Kings (30-27-4) are just outside the second wild-card berth in the Western Conference, while the Lightning (27-25-8) are seven points back of a playoff spot.
The deal was particularly surprising after Budaj’s unlikely success with the Kings this season.
The veteran Slovak netminder filled in splendidly after Quick got hurt in the first period of Los Angeles’ season opener, going 27-20-3 with a 2.12 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage.
Budaj returned to a backup role Saturday while Quick led the Kings to a 4-1 victory over Anaheim. Los Angeles has a heavy schedule in March, and general manager Dean Lombardi might have been worried about the toll of heavy work on Quick’s health.
After a slow start to his NHL career in St. Louis and Ottawa, the 6-foot-7 Bishop has been a solid NHL goalie for the past four seasons in Tampa Bay. He backstopped the Lightning to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, where they lost to Chicago.
But Bishop will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, while Andrei Vasilevskiy — widely thought to be the Lightning’s goalie of the future — is expected to be protected by Tampa Bay in the expansion draft.
Bishop is 16-12-3 with a 2.55 GAA and a .911 save percentage this season, while Vasilevskiy is 11-13-5 with a 2.81 GAA.