After several weeks of speculation, the Islanders have officially brought back their former starting goaltender. The move likely comes in the face of a back-to-back for the Islanders as they will play in Pittsburgh on Friday and Boston at home on Saturday.
Right on Time
The New York Islanders struggled heavily on Monday, March 13 when they played host to the Carolina Hurricanes in the beginning of a back-to-back. JF Berube was lit up for four goals on less than 20 SOG, and the goaltending had let down a good team start once more.
The shaken faith in Berube was not a factor that was new for the Islanders, but one that finally pushed management over the edge. Berube carries an .889 save percentage coupled with a 3.42 GAA, the lowest stats among starters with at least 10 games played.
After blowing his last start sky-high, the feeling among fans was that Berube could not start another game for the Islanders this season. Just that has happened, and newly crowned starter Thomas Greiss will finally get the rest he needs since management can trust Jaroslav Halak with a starter’s workload (if need be).
In light of his demotion, JF Berube will be on the receiving end of the three-goalie situation. Since Berube is not eligible to play in the AHL (he wasn’t on the roster before the trade deadline on March 1) he will be stuck in goalie limbo the rest of the season. His fate remains to be seen, but perhaps Garth can arrange for an Eric Boulton-style phantom injury.
#Isles Transaction: Jaroslav Halak has been recalled from loan (Bridgeport).
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) March 23, 2017
With just under 10 games left in the season, one would have to ask why he hasn’t been called up sooner, especially after a very important home-stand last week that the Islanders should have capitalized on but didn’t due in part to poor backup goaltending.
Regardless of that, Halak has returned and will start either Friday (most likely) or Saturday. The recall is just in time for the Islanders, who are coming off a 3-2 win over the Rangers and need to capitalize every chance they get.
Look for Jaro to start in net in Pittsburgh on Friday.