In July the Los Angeles Kings agreed to terms with Restricted Free Agent (RFA) goaltender Jean-Francois Berube. It was announced by Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi.
It’s a two year contract worth a total of 1.3 million dollars according to capgeek.com.
In the 2013-2014 season the 6-1, 174-pound Berube played 48 games with the Kings AHL affiliate Manchester Monarchs, posting a record of 28-17-2 with a .913 save percentage, and 2.37 goals against average. He was chosen by the Kings in the fourth round, 95th overall in 2009. The 23-year-old will have to wait to wear the coveted Kings jersey unless he can beat out 24-year-old Martin Jones, which doesn’t seem likely.
Jones played his first year with Kings last season. The 6-4, 187-pound Jones was called up from Manchester after the Kings traded backup goaltender Ben Scrivens to the Edmonton Oilers for a third-round pick in the 2014 draft. Jones played 19 games with the Kings, posting an impressive .934 save percentage, with a 1.81 goals against average. His winning aptitude wasn’t bad either: his record was 12-6.
After being retained by the Kings Berube is really going to have to turn some heads in training camp to beat out Jones for the number-two, backup goaltender slot on the depth chart. Many consider Jonathan Quick one of best goaltenders in the world so his place is cemented for now.
Berube was called up to the Kings for the 2014 playoff run as a third-string, undressed goalie after the Monarchs season ended. Now the job is to continue to develop his game through the Kings farm system.
Committing Berube to two years has again shown the wisdom of Lombardi. Berube will join a stable of good goaltenders, something the Kings have recently become known for. All three goalies are under the age of 29. Most goalies in today’s NHL reach their prime around age 30. Dean’s latest policy of keeping quality goaltenders around is an insurance policy against injury, and a way of generating trade value for the franchise while continually developing talent through the ranks.