For the second straight season, the Islanders opening night roster consisted of an unorthodox trio of goaltenders. In a league where a starter and backup is the norm, the Isles had an additional goaltender in the press box as a healthy scratch and for the first half of this season and mostly all of last season, that was Jean-François Bérubé.
Berube made his way to Brooklyn after the Kings has placed the reigning Calder Cup champion goaltender on waivers. With the 2015-2016 season coming up in a matter of days, the Islanders picked him up. He played well during his limited amount of appearances and so he signed onto a one-year deal during the summer. He once again found himself as the third goaltender but not for long. Another few starts later, the team had begun to convince themselves that Berube was an NHL-ready goaltender and so they made their move. Following a poor performance against the Minnesota Wild, the Islanders placed goaltender Jaroslav Halak on waivers, putting J-F Berube into the official backup goaltender position.
Importance to Team/Consistency: 16/30
Thomas Greiss ran away with the number one goaltender job and Berube saw a limited amount of games. However, when Berube was in goal he didn’t do so well. His 3-2-2 record is decent but his statistics (3.42 goals against average, .889 save percentage) weren’t so great. After Berube became the backup, he appeared in 10 games (five starts). Throughout the season, only three of Berube’s seven starts had him finish with a save percentage over .900. As a team that had been pushing since January for a playoff spot, his few performances in goal were simply not good enough.
Berube is a modern day NHL goalie in my book. I make highlight reels for every player (Berube’s is attached below), and he really does have some awesome, highlight-reel saves. Those are the saves that you aren’t expected to make and it’s pretty crazy when a goalie is able to make them but some of the goals Berube let up were questionable and I’m sure there were a handful he would’ve wanted back.
Clutch Factor: 6/10
The several highlight-reel stops aside, Berube was given the start in some pretty important games and luckily, the Islanders were able to score quite often in most of those games; but there were some where they understandably couldn’t score five and they lost. Berube’s last game of the season was a big game in Brooklyn when he was booed off the ice after allowing a fourth goal on Carolina’s 13th shot on goal of the game. While Berube was getting his rare opportunities in goal last season, some predicted him as next year’s (would’ve been this year’s) starter. He didn’t create those expectations but seeing how well he played last year, it was disappointing to see his numbers.
What the Islanders’ have done with J-F Berube has never been heard of before. The Islanders took a promising goaltender and have kept him in the press box where he could be playing in the NHL or stealing the show in the AHL elsewhere. However, everyone on the team always says how much they appreciate Berube. Berube can often be seen in the community, he is a hard worker, and you’ll never hear him complain about the goaltending situation.
J-F Berube 2015-16/2016-17 Highlights:
Grade: 39/60; D