Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Good luck to Berard

He's hard to picture as a Flyers d-man, but I hope it happens for Bryan Berard, Philadelphia's new training camp tryout.

He made it on an NHL roster doing the same thing last year on Long Island, so here's hoping he defies the odds again. Any Berard update is always tempered by the disappointment of what could have been. But on the other side of the coin, it's good to see him still making a go of it. Berard was a serviceable defenseman last season, particularly early on, providing occasional spice to the Islanders' struggling powerplay.

But whether from injuries or fatigue (or both), his effectiveness declined and his output never matched his hot training camp start or the offensive d-man label he re-inherited. His defense was by no means like Marc-Andre Bergeron's, but it wasn't stellar. By the late stages of last season, we were almost equally surprised when both he and Marc-Andre Bergeron (dumped at the deadline) held up their own end.

Berard's first injury (groin) happened two weeks into the season, and between Nov. 15 (when he returned) and Jan. 16, he had exactly one point. He was again playing around 20 minutes by February and March -- he just wasn't getting many points. (Granted, no one on the Island racked up points.)

Which reminds us why defensive depth is always nice. The Flyers have a young-ish defensive corps outside of Kimmo Timonen and Derian Hatcher (whose knee will probably be a question the rest of his career). Most of their late-20s guys are not what you'd consider "prime" guys, so it's conceivable Berard could steal an "experienced veteran" depth spot from one of them if he has a good camp. If so, you have to picture him as an injury fill-in and a complement to their powerplay when needed. When not relied on too heavily, his presence could be a true bonus.

Berard impressed with play and attitude on a tryout during last season's camp. Here's hoping he can do it again.


Islanders Outsider said...

"I'm excited about Bryan's willingness to come here on a tryout. It will certainly pick up the competition level of what is going to take place in training camp."

If I'm Berard, I'd like to see Holmgren a little excited about what I might actually contribute to the team beyond training camp!

But I guess a GM would be excited about getting to look at a player for free. It's too bad that Berard wasn't convincing enough last year to avoid going through this again.

Dominik said...

Heh, good point. Not exactly a ringing endorsement from Holmgren. Essentially, "It's nice of Bryan to let us use him to push our other guys."