New York Ranger draft pick named to preliminary roster for Team USA

Jim Bay

New York Ranger’s fifth-round draft pick Brett Berard was one of 29 players invited by USA Hockey to its 2021 U.S. National Junior Team Training Camp that will begin on Dec. 6 in Plymouth, Michigan.

Berard will begin his freshman season with the Providence Friars in 2020-21. He recently spent two seasons in the U.S. National Team Development Program while recording 16 goals and 18 assists with the U18s in 2019-20. He was selected by the Rangers in the fifth round (134th overall) in the 2020 NHL Draft back in October.

Berard has been described as a small, but scrappy player.  He also put up 18 points in just 13 games with the USNTDP Juniors making him the highest-scoring forward in the USHL on a per-game basis, according to EliteProspects.

Elite Prospects also mentions that Berard pairs his strong skating with excellent stickhandling ability. He is deadly in one-on-one situations as he can make a quick dangle and also can use his feet to get around a defender. His scouting report also mentions that “He is extremely aggressive, using his body on the forecheck and creating havoc in front of the net. Berard is always moving his feet and in the middle of the action. He can drive opponents nuts and draw penalties. Berard brings his non-stop motor and aggressive style in all three zones.”

Most scouts feel that Berard could be a top-6 forward if he continues to develop. Compensating for his size is a continuing project and adding bulk will certainly be a helpful component.

The camp is part of the evaluation process in selecting the 25-player U.S. National Junior Team roster that will compete in the 2021 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship Dec. 25, 2020, through Jan. 5, 2021, in Edmonton, Alberta. The final roster will be announced on Dec. 13, prior to the team’s departure from Plymouth to Edmonton that day.

The United States enters the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship seeking its fifth medal in six years after earning a record four-consecutive medals: gold in 2017, silver in 2019, and bronze in both 2018 and 2016.