Degenerative knee injury ends goalie Ben Bishop's NHL career, Dallas Stars GM says

Dallas Stars goalie Ben Bishop will remain on long-term injured reserve with a degenerative knee injury that marks "the end of his career," general manager Jim Nill told The Dallas Morning News on Saturday.

Bishop, 35, had surgery for a torn meniscus after the pandemic-altered 2019-20 season and missed all of the shortened 2020-21 season, when Dallas missed the playoffs. He had recently been on a conditioning stint with the AHL Texas Stars. On Thursday, in his first game since Game 5 of the Western Conference finals in August 2020, he gave up eight goals on 34 shots.

The Stars recalled Bishop on Saturday, only to have Nill explain that the goaltender's NHL career is over.

"It's no secret, he has a degenerative knee injury, and he went down there, he wanted to be a big part of this. He wanted to do everything he could to get back," Nill told The Dallas Morning News. "In the end, by going through the process, going down there and playing, he found out that it's the end of his career."

Bishop was one of the most successful NHL goaltenders of the past decade. Since 2013-14, he's tied for eighth in regular-season wins (204) with Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens. That's despite not having played the past two seasons due to his injuries.

Bishop was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy in 2014, 2016 and 2019. He had an overall record of 222-128-36 with a 2.32 goals-against average and .921 save percentage in 413 games, playing 227 of them with the Tampa Bay Lightning and 143 of them with the Stars. Bishop also played for the St. Louis Blues, Ottawa Senators and Los Angeles Kings.

Dallas signed Bishop after acquiring him from the Kings for a fourth-round pick in 2017.

He was also a member of the U.S. team at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

Bishop was Tampa Bay's starter in 2014-15, when the Lightning came within two victories of the title. Stars coach Rick Bowness was an assistant on that team.

"It hurts,'' Bowness said. "I feel terrible for him because he's such a great person and as I've always said, when he's on, he's a top-three goalie in this league.''

Bishop is in the fifth year of a six-year, $29.5 million contract that carried a $4,916,667 cap hit. He was left exposed by the Stars in the 2021 Seattle expansion draft, but word around the league was that it was a long shot that he would be able to continue his NHL career. The Stars signed Braden Holtby in free agency.

Nill said Bishop, who had practiced with the team almost every day since the start of this season, gave the AHL a try because he thought his ailing knee was feeling the best it could.

"By going down there, he gave everything he could and it was the best-case scenario for him,'' Nill said. "That's why he wanted to try it then. In the end, he found out he can't do it.''

The Associated Press contributed to this report.