Ben Bishop Called Up While Jaroslav Halak Has Flu; Is This Audition Time?

Ben Bishop has been pretty up front about his situation with the Blues. After Brian Elliott was signed to his two year, $3.6 million contract, the writing was pretty clearly on the wall: Bishop wasn't going to get his chance in St. Louis, and more than likely would be shopped around at the trade deadline. The AHL all-star MVP goaltender is more than ready for a shot at the NHL level, but unless something happens long-term to Jaroslav Halak or Elliott, his big chance in the big leagues will come with a different organization.

Bishop has been realistic about his situation, telling Post-Dispatch reporter Jeremy Rutherford that he understood the team's decision:

"My situation, I'm playing well (in Peoria), so I've just got to keep it up and focus on my team down here. There's obviously some writing on the wall, but at the same time, you never know what can happen."

That's a pretty mature way to look at things, but Bishop is no spring chicken. He's just 25 years old, and that makes him an attractive option for teams that have been struggling to find consistency in net. He'll join the Blues as Elliott's back-up at least for Saturday afternoon's game against the Minnesota Wild, as Halak has the flu. Bishop will be a UFA at the end of this season if he doesn't play 30 or more minutes in 17 games this season. Basically, it's better to trade him than to let him walk, despite the huge impact it might have on the Peoria Rivermen's season.

He won't be playing any time soon, but if scouts are in the house for the morning practice, they should get a good look at the Blues most valuable trade asset. Teams that could use him (but have not been linked to Bishop or the Blues) could be the New Jersey Devils (Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg aren't spring chickens) or the Tampa Bay Lightning. Their goaltender tandem of Mathieu Garon and Dwayne Roloson has been a huge reason the squad more than likely won't be qualifying for the playoffs this season.

I would mention the Blackhawks and their shaky goaltender tandem of Corey Crawford and Ray Emery, but there is no way that the Blues dare strengthen a divisional rival that they could possibly see in the playoffs.

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