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.