As we first reported on Monday, the Ontario Reign have added another goaltender – and it’s a name quite familiar to the organization, J.F. Berube.
With the signing of Berube to a one-year, AHL contract, the Kings now have six goaltenders under contract in the system. with five of them under NHL deals, there is at least some clarity on the overall plan. Jonathan Quick and Cal Petersen will serve as the NHL netminders. Berube will be stationed in the AHL. Which leaves a trio of Troy Grosenick, along with prospects Matt Villalta and Jacob Ingham to round things out. One of them must serve as the taxi squad goalie, per NHL rules for this season. Thus, one of the trio will fit there, another one will play in the AHL, and one of them will be reasigned to the Greenville Swamp Rabbits (ECHL).
From what we understand, the plan as of now is to most likely rotate Grosenick and Villalta between the taxi squad and AHL. This would allow Ingham to get a steady steam of games in the ECHL. Occasionally, he may flip-flop with Villalta, allowing him to spend some time with the Kings development staff in El Segundo.
Hearing LA Kings have reached an agreement w/ goalie JF Berube on an AHL contract.
He's coming home. Berube started his pro career w/ the then ECHL Ontario Reign after being drafted by LA out of the QMJHL in 2009. Later backstopped AHL Manch to 2015 Calder Cup. pic.twitter.com/rv8PcGlcQ5
— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) December 29, 2020
As for Berube, this will be a return to the organization where he’s had the most success. Originally selected by the Kings at the 2009 NHL Draft, he started his professional career with the ECHL version of the Ontario Reign before eventually earning a promotion to AHL Manchester. He capped off a four-year run in the Kings organization by backstopping the Monarchs to the 2015 Calder Cup Championship. During that same season, Berube led the AHL in wins and was selected to the AHL All-Star Classic.
Later, he picked up 34 games of NHL experience while a member of the New York Islanders and Chicago Blackhawks.
With 204 AHL games under his belt — including stops in Bridgeport, Rockford, Cleveland, Hartford and Lehigh Valley, in addition to his time in Manchester — Berube has posted a 112-72-13 record, along with a .908 save percentage and a 2.51 goals against average.
On a fun side note, he’s also had some of the best looking goalie masks ever to be worn by an LA netminder.
Now 29 years old, Berube is expected to open training camp with his Reign teammates in a few weeks. The AHL recently announced their intention to begin play on February 5.
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