The re-signing of Jean-Francois Berube complicates the New York Islanders’ goaltending situation.The New York Islanders are about to have a conundrum between the pipes.
Isles general manager Garth Snow inked Jean-Francois Berube to a one-year, one-way contract Tuesday afternoon, meaning that the team will have three netminders signed next season.
Or, this move means something else: the Isles are ready to part with one of their goaltenders via trade.
Jaroslav Halak was blunt about the team’s goalie excess last postseason, when he stated that “it’s not ideal,” and added, “I’ve tried to tell [management], and this is not up to me.”
“I like it here, but they just have to decide which way they want to go for next season. J-F is a young goalie, Greisser played well all season long. So we’ll see.”
We’ll sure see.
Halak lost the starting job when he suffered a groin injury last March, and Thomas Greiss took the reins and ran with them. He led the team to their first second-round birth in nearly two and a half decades, and finished the regular season with a 2.36 GAA and .925 save percentage in 41 games.
Berube, 24, was claimed off waivers from Los Angeles, and surprisingly started the team’s first ever regular season game in Brooklyn. He owns an ideal frame (6’1″) and good athleticism, and the organization is reportedly infatuated with him.
Halak, 31, has a cap hit of $4.5 million for the next two seasons. Greiss, 30, will be in the final season of his two-year, $3 million pact.
“It wasn’t an ideal situation for any of the goalies,” Berube said. “It’s kind of hard to get your work in with three. It ended up pretty well, we tried to make the best of it. There was nothing that was going to change so we had to work with it and work together.
“I want a bigger role next season. Past couple years I played 40-45 games, that’s when I perform the best is when I play a lot, but again it’s the management’s decision. I’m just here to do what they tell me to do and I have to make sure I show up ready in training camp.”
The simplest solution for the Isles would be to move Halak. Although the trade market for goaltenders is barren, the Isles could certainly utilize Halak’s hefty dough somewhere else.
However, he is a steadying force, and Greiss has never been a number one netminder before. This begs the following question: would the team be better off trading Greiss?
Another question necessary to ask: what bearing will Ilya Sorokin’s camp have on this decision? Is the über-talented youngster the team’s future in net? Does that impact the decision?
And there’s one more question that needs to be posed: what affect will the looming expansion draft have on this choice? Will Snow feel compelled to stick with Greiss and Berube because Halak’s a goner, anyways?
These variables make this decision all the more intriguing.
All eyes are on you, Garth.