The Islanders roster puzzle got both a little more complete and a little more muddied with the snapping up of goalie Jean-Francois Berube via waivers from the Los Angeles Kings.
In addition to having a name so French it comes with a beret, Berube led the Manchester Monarachs to the 2014-15 Calder Cup (with a 37-9-4 record) and came in at No. 15 on Jewels from the Crown's Top 25 Under 25 list. He's had an up-and-down run with the Kings organization, with injuries and inconsistencies culminating in losing the job as Jonathan Quick's understudy to free agent Jhonas Enroth.
He's your basic, average goaltender. His .907 save% was similar to other goalies who were taken in the 2009 draft, which isn't saying much given that most of them don't seem to have panned out. The most notable names are Anders Nilsson, Darcy Kuemper, and Joni Ortio. Nilsson and Ortio have shown flashes of promise, while Kuemper had a bad season that saw his time with the Minnesota Wild end after they decided Devan Dubnyk was the guy.
The scariest parts of that write-up are comparisons to Nilsson, who just won Edmonton's back-up job after many messy seasons in the Islanders' system. Nilsson's sometime teammate (and Berube's fellow Quebecois countryman) Kevin Poulin was lost to waivers last week to Tampa Bay. Whether Berube is better than either guy remains to be seen.
As a bonus, Berube is an Allan Walsh client.
So while fresh meat is always tasty for comments sections, claiming Berube means the Islanders raise a very pertinent question about the status of their own starting goalie, Jaroslav Halak.
Halak practiced with the team today at their G.I. Joe fan club camp in Annapolis, MD, but we still don't know if he's starting Friday night at Barclays Center. Berube is a cheaper insurance policy than waived Oiler Ben Scrivens or either of Calgary's Jonas Hiller or Karri Ramo, who might have been available as well. So if Halak can't go Friday, it might mean Thomas Greiss starts and Berube sits, with Stephon Williams being sent back to Bridgeport to be the Sound Tigers' starter.
With Berube claim, #Isles guarding against Halak not being ready. Williams will go to BPT.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) October 6, 2015
If Halak is healthy, Berube probably goes to Bridgeport, and Christopher Gibson, who was acquired in the Michael Grabner trade, either goes to the Missouri Mavericks of the ECHL or is part of a three-man AHL rotation.
Like I said, a little more complete and a little more muddied.
Update: To garik's point in the comments, Berube is basically strictly Halak Insurance as Staple clarifies:
One note on #Isles Berube claim: If Halak is healthy by next week, say, Berube goes back on waivers and LAK have first right to claim.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) October 6, 2015
So this could end up being essentially a 1-2 week loan for #Isles.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) October 6, 2015
But hey, there's good news, too. The locker room thermometer will maintain its balance:
Hearing that Eric Boulton will sign waiver to continue practicing with #Isles w/o contract. That will get them to 23-man roster.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) October 6, 2015