After the first 2 months of the 2013/14 American Hockey League season, the Manchester Monarchs the primary affiliate of the National Hockey Leagues Los Angeles Kings have had great success so far this year with an impressive 15-3-1-3 record and sitting like Kings on top of the AHL’s Eastern Conference standings. A ton of credit can be said about the depth of the Monarchs team as most of the highly talented prospects like goaltender Martin Jones, and forwards Tanner Pearson, Tyler Toffoli, and Linden Vey have been called up to the LA Kings due to injuries.
Goaltender Martin Jone was having a great start for the Monarchs playing in 13 games going 9-2-2 with a goals against average of 2.24 and a save percentage of .927 and 1 shutout.
With Martin Jones being called up this left a fantastic opportunity for Monarchs back up Jean-Francois Berube to take the starting roll and prove to not only the Manchester Monarchs faithful, but to Kings management that picking him was not a mistake. Berube is a 6′ 1″ 177 pound prototypical butterfly style goaltender that was born on July 13th 1991 (Age 22) in Repentigny Quebec Canada and was a Kings 4th round (95th overall) pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. Berube started his pro career after signing a three year, entry-level contract with Los Angeles on May of 2011 with the Ontario Reign of the East Coast Hockey League which is the primary affiliate of the Manchester Monarchs. In Ontario during the 2011/12 season, Berube in 37 games was 17-13 with a 2.87 goals against average and a .907 save percentage while splitting duties with Winnipeg Jets prospect goaltender Chris Carrozi. Berube really got better in his second season in the ECHL posting a 15-6-2 record, a goals against average of 2.24 and a .910 save percentage while appearing in 24 games. During this 2012/13 season the Monarchs called up Berube twice, with the first on January 7th (re-assigning him on the 17th) then the other call up was on February 7th (re-assigning him on March 35th) and only appearing in 2 games for Manchester going 0-2 with a 4.32 goals against average.
With Martin Jones playing well the past two seasons, it has been very difficult for Berube to get that valuable time he needs in his development. Many scouts and other writers say that that maybe Berube’s achilles heel is his lack of playing time, but with the recent call up of Jones to the Kings, Berube has stepped into the starting roll with great ease and a mind on his future. This season with Manchester Berube in 9 games is 6-2-1 a goals against average of 2.20, a .922 save percentage. He is a big body that covers all the angles very nicely and has tremendous rebound control. He is always square to the shooter and is very quick side to side between the pipes. The Kings have said that Jonathan Quicks injury could hold him off the ice until later December, so Berube should get a month of valuable time until Martin Jones returns and then we shall see how much playing time is cut from Berube.
This could be a very interesting offseason for the Kings and their goaltending issues. While Ben Scrivens is playing very well for the Kings in Quicks absence, he is slated to be an unrestricted free agent this summer and if he is resigned and Jones is still in Manchester as the Monarchs number one, this could yet again bite Berube and his continued development in the butt. Berube is in his last year of that three year entry level contract, but is a restricted free agent so it will be very interesting to see what the Kings management will do with the talented future of these goaltenders.