What JF Berube Brings to the Pack’s Playoff Push
The Hartford Wolf Pack’s goaltending received a much needed boost late Wednesday when it was announced that the Rangers had acquired goaltender JF Berube from Philadelphia in exchange for future considerations. Many wondered if the Pack were going to be like the Rangers and carry 3 goaltenders the remainder of the season until it was announced Thursday that Tom McCollum along with Lewis Zerter-Gossage had been dealt in an AHL only transaction to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for future considerations, what has essentially worked out to be a straight out player swap.
A ninth year pro, Berube has appeared in 29 games this season for a Phantoms team that hasn’t been very competitive for most of the season going 12-11-4 with 3 shutouts, a 2.56 GAA and a .906 save percentage while capturing a Calder Cup in 2015 with the Manchester Monarchs and fellow Wolf Pack Vincent LoVerde. In his AHL career, Berube is 111-66-15 with 11 shutouts, a .909 save percentage and a GAA of 3.38 in time spent with Manchester, Bridgeport, Rockford, Cleveland and Lehigh Valley.
When JF Berube is on his game, he can be nearly unbeatable and one of the best goaltenders in the league. With the Wolf Pack in the midst of a playoff push, they had watched what Adam Huska and Tom McCollum had done in the nearly 2 months since Igor Shesterkin’s recall to New York and have seen that help was needed and went after Berube. With Tom McCollum gone, Berube is likely to become the number 1 goaltender while Adam Huska will be the number 2. A big blow possibly for Huska but his play has warranted some changes.
A Good Move
Adding JF Berube will likely bring some confidence back to the team to a point where they don’t have to play as much defense and can get back to attacking the net and scoring goals. For Adam Huska, as mentioned, he will almost certainly be relegated back to number 2 status in goal. The hope for Huska is that if he plays his cards right, this should only be a wake up call, despite still only being a rookie, will hopefully gets him on the right track for next season and beyond.
The Rangers see that the Wolf Pack’s chances of making the playoffs are very high and needed to make a move to strengthen the goaltending here in Hartford. This also is insurance as it’s likely that Igor Shesterkin will not be sent down to Hartford to be on the Pack’s roster for the March 2nd AHL roster deadline.
With all of the same look as 2015 when the Wolf Pack signed Yann Danis midseason as he took the reigns and lead the Wolf Pack to the Eastern Conference Finals when they lost out to the Manchester Monarchs, with JF Berube in goal. The Rangers and Wolf Pack have more than an Eastern Conference Finals exit in mind and with Berbue on their side, those chances seem to have grown exponentially.