TAMPA — The Lightning locked up Vezina Trophy finalist goaltender Ben Bishop for two more seasons.
Bishop signed a two-year, $11.9 million contract extension Saturday that runs through the 2016-17 season and carries a salary cap hit of $5.95 million per season.
Bishop has one year remaining on his current deal that will pay him $2.4 million in 2014-15.
The 27-year-old, acquired from Ottawa for Cory Conacher in 2013, could have played out his contract and garnered a larger contract on the free-agent market next summer. But he said he likes the direction of the organization and wanted to remain loyal to the team that gave him his first chance to be a starter.
“I didn’t want to head into training camp and then maybe play half a season with (no new contract) in the back of my mind because as much as you like to say that it’s not a distraction, it usually is,’’ Bishop said. “So it was nice to get this over with. I think it’s a fair deal for both sides and I’m really excited to be a part of this organization for another three years.’’
Bishop became the second Lightning goaltender to be named a finalist for the Vezina after setting single-season franchise records with 37 victories, a .924 save percentage and a 2.23 goals-against average, helping lead Tampa Bay to a second-place finish in the Atlantic Division.
But after suffering a dislocated left elbow in the final week of the season, Bishop missed the Lightning’s playoff series against Montreal. Bishop underwent surgery in May to repair ligament damage in his right wrist but is expected to be ready for the start of training camp next month. He had a screw removed from the wrist Tuesday and will begin his next round of rehab Monday, including getting back on skates.
“I have most of my range of motion back, but now it’s just getting that strength back,’’ Bishop said. “But there is still some rehab left. The elbow feels good and I’m just excited to try it out. ... I’m really excited for training camp.’’