Editor’s note: Vegas finally has a roster. It’s time to get excited. Over the next couple of weeks, we will be introducing you to these new Golden Knights players.
The Vegas Golden Knights and New York Islanders appeared to have much dialogue between them concerning trades leading up to the expansion draft. After all was said and done, Vegas selected goalie J-F Berube.
Selecting Berube was part of the deal involving Mikhail Grabovski, that also brought in a first-round pick in 2017 (used to select Erik Brannstrom), a second-round pick in 2019, and prospect Jake Bischoff.
Let’s see how the 25-year-old pending unrestricted free agent stacks up.
Berube was drafted in the fourth round of the 2009 NHL Draft by the Los Angeles Kings. He was claimed off waivers by the Islanders in October 2015.
Standing 6-foot-1, the Repentigny, Quebec native is described by Hockey’s Future as a big butterfly goalie who is always square to the shooter and moves quickly in the net. Positioning and technique are amongst his primary skills as a goaltender.
Some complimented his professionalism and how well he handled his role as New York’s third goalie the last two years; a role I'd bet he hopes doesn't continue in Vegas. Berube played just 26 games over the last two seasons.
For a goalie still in development, the lack of consistent playing time does not help. Still, the Islanders were concerned about their goalie depth and opted to keep him, rather than lose him to waivers.
Numbers, numbers, numbers
Berube has had some limited NHL exposure, but his numbers are underwhelming, posting a 3.10 goals against average, and just a .900 save percentage.
For reference; the average NHL goalie the last couple seasons has had a .914 save percentage. Berube's 5-v-5 save percentage is not good. His 90.17 ranks 61st of 63 goalies who played at least 400 minutes last season.
His AHL numbers aren't favorable either. In 109 career AHL games since 2009-10, Berube has a save percentage of just .913.
He is still young, but being that he has to be placed on waivers to get sent to the AHL, the plan for him, if any, is unclear. He's in no way the high calibre or high profile name that Calvin Pickard or Marc-Andre Fleury are. One could even make the case he's not an NHL-caliber goalie.
And as mentioned, Berube is a pending unrestricted free agent on July 1st and will need to be signed to even be part of the Golden Knights this season. It’s doubtful that happens.
He could still develop into a solid goalie, but he needs consistent playing time to do so. Barring injuries, he won’t get that in Vegas.