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Dallas Stars make goalie splash by acquiring Ben Bishop

The Stars are trying to fix an expensive goalie situation.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

With a goalie problem to fix this summer and one of their possible targets off the market already, the Dallas Stars made a big move on Tuesday afternoon with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Stars traded a fourth-round draft pick in 2017 for Lightning goalie Ben Bishop, who is set to hit unrestricted free agency this offseason. The draft pick originally came to Dallas from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for defenseman Jordie Benn.

Bishop, a 30-year-old former Vezina Trophy finalist, came to L.A. at the trade deadline when Tampa deemed backup Andrei Vasilevskiy ready for a starting role and Los Angeles needed stretch-run insurance in case Jonathan Quick wasn’t fully healthy.

His season was subpar by his own standards, with a .910 save percentage in 39 games. But he sports a career .919 SV% and finished second in Vezina voting in 2015-16 and third in 2013-14.

And the Stars need a change in net. Antti Niemi and Kari Lehtonen spent another season rotating in and out of the starting role, and neither played particularly well for a Stars team that bottomed out by mid-February. Both finished with awful save percentages (.902 for Niemi; .892 for Lehtonen) and neither sported winning records.

The duo was a big part of the Stars’ historically awful penalty kill, 29th best goals-against per game average (3.17), and league-worst SV% (.893).

The kicker? Niemi and Lehtonen carry a combined $10.4 million cap hit, the most any team pays for a pair of goalies. Bishop may not come cheaply, either; he turns 31 in November and might seek a hefty payday. Dallas may need to shed both Niemi and Lehtonen to convince him to sign, which will be costly. We’ll see.

But Dallas needed to make a move after the Hurricanes traded for Blackhawks backup Scott Darling, signing him last week.

We don’t know if Darling was the Stars’ first choice, but it was a choice off the table. They got another one in Bishop, and now they need to finish the deal. At least it sounds like Bishop wants to play there.