30-Year-Old Goalie – Florida Panthers
Reto Berra Contract Information:
Berra signed a three-year extension with the Avalanche in March of 2014.
The Panthers recalled Berra from AHL Springfield on Thursday.
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Reto Berra: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
As the backup to starting netminder Semyon Varlamov, Berra qualified as a disappointment in 2014-15, even if his 2.65 GAA and .918 save percentage didn't register as such. Instead, it was the Swiss goaltender's practice habits that put him in coach Patrick Roy's doghouse, resulting in him being bypassed by Calvin Pickard on the Avs' organizational depth chart at one point. Though he's already 28 years old, Berra has just 50 NHL games under his belt, so itís hard to judge what exactly the Avalanche have in him. Berra's one-way contract will likely lock him into the No. 2 role despite last season's developments, but he's probably in line to see one of the lightest workloads of any of the league's backup netminders behind the workhorse Varlamov. And if Berra fails to impress in the few opportunities he does see, the Avs may elect to wash their hands entirely of the situation and waive him, especially if Pickard continues to excel in the AHL and makes a compelling case for a promotion.
Berra signed a three-year contact before even playing a game with Colorado just after the Avalanche acquired the 27-year-old relatively unknown netminder from Calgary in a March 2014 deal. The goal here was to ink a solid backup goalie behind the blossoming Semyon Varlamov, as veteran J.S. Giguere had basically announced his intentions for retirement at that point. The Swiss rookie had fared decently in 29 games with the Flames, posting a .897 save percentage and a 2.95 GAA despite recording a 9-17 record. However, the move to the Mile High City hasn't gone according to plan (at least not yet), as Berra allowed seven goals on just 32 shots in two starts, landing him in the press box come playoff time. Still, Avs' brass Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy must see something in Berra that warrantd the three-year deal they gave him, so he should see plenty of opportunities in 2014-15 to prove he's worthy of giving workhorse Varlamov -- who is coming off a terrific 41-win season that earned him a Vezina nomation -- an occasional rest. If Berra should continue to falter, which is a definite possibility, 21-year-old Finn Sami Aittokallio -- who is 29-27-4 with a .904 save percentage and 2.83 GAA in two seasons with the AHL's Lake Erie Monsters -- would be next in line for crease time.
Berra has remained in Switzerland since the Blues drafted him in the fourth round of the 2006 draft. He's been playing for teams in the A league, but has not showed too much as the primary goalie for Biel the last two seasons. He's a long way from St. Louis.
There's very little room in North America for Berra, who has been stopping pucks in Switzerland since the Blues selected him in the fourth round of the 2006 draft. He's got good size for a goalie and is pretty flexible around the pipes, however, there are just too many goalies ahead of him at this point to project him in St. Louis uniform any time soon.
The 6'4" Swiss netminder will spend another season in Europe playing for HC Davos of the Swiss "A" League.
Berra stood out at the Blues' recent developmental camp, but the goalie situation in St. Louis is simply too crowded to give Berra any shot at making the team this year. Blues President John Davidson, himself a former goalie, likes the kid's potential though.