The Islanders sealed Jean-Francois Berube’s fate with the franchise after they called up Jaroslav Halak today. Who am I kidding? His fate was sealed months ago. But we should forget just what he did for this team. Nothing much.
Jean-Francois Berube came to the Islanders on October 6, 2015, by way of the waiver wire. His previous club, the Los Angeles Kings, didn’t want him anymore and sent him down to the AHL. Not before Garth Snow could spring into action.
The Islanders GM picked up Berube as insurance against Jaroslav Halak being injured long term to start the 2015-16 season.
Halak was injured to start the season but was able to make it back to the lineup by October 17. Berube got a single game, a 4-1 road loss to the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks. Tough start for the kid.
Tough start for the kid. First taste of NHL hockey and it’s the Blackhawks home opener after winning their third cup in six seasons.
From there Berube would sit and wait just under four months for his next game. For four months Berube just sat there on game day watching from the press box. And clogging up the practice facility.
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An Extended Stay
But you know what, even though Berube played a total of seven games in a 2015-16 season that saw Jaroslav Halak receive a second injury, keeping him out for the rest of the season, Snow gave Berube a one-year extension.
That one year deal, wich was also a one-way deal, rewarded Berube for showing respectable numbers in an incredibly small sample size. Those numbers you ask? In those seven starts, Berube put up a 2.71 GAA and a .914 SV%.
Just in case you’re asking yourself, a one-way deal doesn’t change his waiver eligibility situation. It just means that no matter where Berube would play, AHL or NHL he would make that $675,000 thousand.
That One-Way Deal
So even if Berube went through the waiver process without being picked up by any other team he would be guaranteed to make his full amount. And he earned it. Well, at least Garth thought he did.
Or did he? Why give Berube a $113,000 thousand raise and a contract $100,000 thousand above the league minimum for the 2016-17 season?
Qualifying offer rules only ask that teams give RFA’s making Berube type money a 110% increase. So why the $34,000 thousand above the minimum qualifying offer?
Maybe it was a premium negotiated to have Berube sit out every game unless Halak or Greiss were to be injured? Maybe Garth just isn’t a good negotiator and just gave Berube’s camp a $34,000 thousand increase just to seal the deal quickly?
Fine. $34,000 thousand isn’t a great deal of money to an NHL team with a $71 million payroll.
The end product was banishing Jaroslav Halak to the AHL after a sub-par start to his 2016-17 season.
At the start of the season Halak (and Berube’s) agent put out two sharply worded tweets regarding the Islanders three-goalie situation.
This “issue” brought up by Walsh eventually eroded the relationship between Halak and the organization who sent him down the Bridgeport before the end of the 2016 calendar year.
Finally, Berube would have a chance to show the world he’s an NHL caliber goaltender.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t. In 14 games played this season, Berube has a terrible 0.889 GAA and 3.42 GAA. And with a handful of games remaining on the season. The Islanders had to face the music. The man they had been holding onto for two years. Who they stubbornly wouldn’t send to Bridgeport if even for conditioning, wasn’t what they were looking for. Not even close.
So they had to go and bring Jaroslav Halak back from his AHL exodus. Bringing an end to Berube’s time with the Isles. Two years, a one-way deal, and an ill-fated experiment by our GM. One that should cost him his job.
That’s what Berube did in his time with the Islanders. He exposed the Garth Snow ego to the world. And we shouldn’t forget that. Thanks, J-F.