Jean François-Bérubé hasn’t been effective as the New York Islanders’ backup goaltender, begging the following question: why isn’t Jaroslav Hálak in Brooklyn?
At this pace, he’s not going to last.
Isles netminder Thomas Greiss performed admirably during his team’s 2-1 shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night.
The problem? He was entrusted to complete the back-to-back even though he wasn’t nearly at peak form the night before. That’s because his backup, Jean François-Bérubé, isn’t a very viable option—for a bevy of reasons that have both him and the coaching staff at fault—for a team on the brink of the postseason.
Something has to give.
The Islanders’ schedule over the remaining twenty games will do no favors to Greiss, who split the starting duties with Jaroslav Hálak for the first couple of months of the season.
Hálak, 31, entered the season fresh off of one of the more memorable international performances in recent memory (he lifted his European squad to the World Cup of Hockey championship game). But his status as the big league club’s starting netminder was complicated by two events: first, his agent, Allan Walsh, criticized general manager Garth Snow for the team’s infamous three goalie system; and second, he was sent down to Bridgeport (AHL) after a dreadful start.
He’s been there since, despite Bérubé’s well-documented struggles.
This doesn’t make much sense. Bérubé owns a league-worst 3.38 goals-against average (amongst goaltenders with ten or more games played), and has surrendered 14 dingers over his past four starts.
Meanwhile, Hálak has gone on a tear for the fourth-place Sound Tigers. He’s 14-2-1 with a 2.02 GAA and .931 save percentage. Most importantly, he hasn’t been complaining—at least not in public—about his new role.
With these numbers in mind, it’s ludicrous that Hálak isn’t backing Greiss up. Sure, he’s had his struggles this season, but everybody does. He’s rebounded well at the minor-league level, and deserves a second chance.
The Isles need him back in Brooklyn.