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Goalie J-F Berube Joining Florida Panthers on PTO

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Jonathan Huberdeau of the Florida Panthers scores against Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender J-F Berube during the third period of a game on Feb. 24 in Sunrise. Berube will join the Panthers at training camp on a PTO. — AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

The Florida Panthers will indeed have an additional veteran goalie at training camp as J-F Berube will come in on a professional tryout, Florida Hockey Now has learned.

Earlier this week, it was discovered that Andrew Hammond, who previously had been linked to Florida’s PTO invitation, would not be coming to training camp with the Panthers.

Berube — the J-F stands for Jean-Francois — is expected to compete for the role of Florida’s No. 3 goalie in camp with Mack Guzda and Alex Lyon.

The Panthers will now open training camp next Thursday with six goalies including incumbent starter Sergei Bobrovsky and backup Spencer Knight.

Evan Fitzpatrick is also expected to be in camp on an AHL contract; he spent most of last season at ECHL Greenville.

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Berube, 31, spent last season with the Columbus organization splitting his time with the Blue Jackets and AHL Cleveland.

In six games at the NHL level, Berube was 3-2-0 with a 4.12 GAA and a .900 save percentage.

With the Monsters, Berube was 4-10-5 with a 3.65/.879.

A fourth-round pick of the Kings in 2009, Berube made his NHL debut with the New York Islanders in 2015, losing to the Blackhawks.

Of his 40 NHL games played, 21 came with the Islanders between the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.

That following season, he got in 13 games with Chicago — but until last season, those were his last games in the NHL.

On Feb. 20, Berube made his first NHL start in four years — and he led the Blue Jackets to a 7-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres.

That same night, Hammond got his first NHL win since 2016 for the Canadiens.

“I’ve been through some tough times,” Berube said per the Columbus Dispatch. “I always kept my eyes where I wanted to be. That just pushed me. I feel fortunate to have had good coaches, good teammates that pushed me every day. I owe a lot to the people that supported me all those years and kept pushing me.”

Berube spent the 2018-19 season with the Cleveland Monsters where Bill Zito was the team’s general manager.

That started a run of four consecutive seasons in the AHL with four different organizations.

In all, Berube has spent the vast majority of his 11-year professional career in the AHL playing in Manchester, Bridgeport, Rockford, Lehigh Valley, Ontario, Hartford and Cleveland — a total of 242 games played.

Berube won the Calder Cup as a member of the Manchester Monarchs in 2015, going 13-3 that postseason.

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