Clark Bishop: 2018-19 By the Numbers
- Age: 23
- NHL Seasons: 1
- Games Played: 20
- Scoring: 1 goals, 2 assists, 3 points
- Ice Time (per-game average): 9:27 all situations, 0:12 PK, 0:09 PP
- 5-on-5 (score/venue adjusted): 49.7 CF% (-4.76 relative), 42.11 GF%, 51.69 xGF% (-5.36 relative)
Making the Grade
When the 2018-19 season started, Clark Bishop was nowhere near the top of the call-up list in the minds of many people following the Carolina Hurricanes, but sure enough when Martin Necas was assigned to the Charlotte Checkers in late October, it was Bishop who had his name called by the Canes to fill out a roster spot with the big club.
It was a strong offensive start to his season in Charlotte that got his name on the mind of some (he logged three points and was a plus-six in the Checkers’ first four games of the new year), but it was his play in all the other areas that stood out to Checkers HC Mike Vellucci and Canes HC Rod Brind’Amour, alike.
Bishop ended up skating in 20 NHL games across four stints with the big club in 2018-19, playing almost solely in the middle of Carolina’s fourth line with likes of Warren Foegele, Brock McGinn, and even Phil Di Giuseppe. In that role, Bishop proved to be a pretty serviceable option at the bottom of the forward depth chart.
On top of his passable advanced numbers and overall reliable play in the neutral and defensive zones, he is a team-first guy who is willing to play in any role that the coaching staff asks of him. That’s been his personality dating back to junior. He’s never been a high-skill player, with all due respect, but he’s been able to make up for that with his high compete level and willingness to battle hard in the corners and high-contact areas of the ice.
After missing two weeks with a lower-body injury he suffered in Philadelphia on January 3, he returned to the AHL and played out the second half of the season with the Checkers, where he managed all of one point in 26 games. Despite his offensive deficiencies, he was given another call-up during the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs as Carolina beat the New York Islanders twice in Brooklyn with Bishop in the lineup before returning home, getting healthier, and finishing their series sweep with Bishop back out of the lineup.
Bishop is back in the Checkers’ lineup and scored important goals in games five and six as they eliminated the Toronto Marlies and advanced to the Calder Cup Final.
All told, it was an interesting season for the 23-year-old pending RFA. It’s clear that the Canes are aware of what he is and what he isn’t. He is a capable NHL bottom-six stop-gap with upside that could see him become a full-time fourth-line center at some point. He isn’t anything more than that, though, and that’s alright. The Hurricanes aren’t going to be a bottom-dweller in the salary cap game much longer, and it’s important to get value wherever you can. In Bishop’s case, he’s young, capable, cheap, and he’ll always have a job in an organization because of his ability to fit into a depth role.
He’ll log you eight or nine minutes and perhaps a few penalty kill shifts if a key PK guy is in the box and he’ll do so without making many mistakes. He’ll go north-south every shift and keep things simple. And on occasion, he might just skate a puck directly into the other team’s net.
Clark Bishop's first career NHL goal and point. It wasn't pretty... but the Canes (and Bishop) will take it! Tie game in Anaheim. pic.twitter.com/ngVHtkf3Pe— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) December 8, 2018
How do you grade Clark Bishop’s season?
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A - Outstanding performance
B - Above average performance
C - Average performance
D - Below average performance
F - Significantly below average performance