New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has agreed to a professional tryout agreement with free agent defenseman Bryan Berard. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Berard, 24, has appeared in 290 career matches with the New York Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs, registering 34 goals and 124 assists for 158 points, along with 235 penalty minutes. In 17 career playoff matches, he has tallied one goal and eight assists for nine points, along with eight penalty minutes. He has not appeared in a hockey contest since suffering an injury to his right eye in a match between Toronto and the Ottawa Senators on March 11, 2000.
A four-year veteran of the National Hockey League, Berard captured the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie following the 1996-97 season, while also being named The Sporting News Rookie of the Year. After spending over two seasons on Long Island, Berard was traded along with a draft choice by the Islanders on January 9, 1999 to the Toronto Maple Leafs, in exchange for Felix Potvin and a draft choice.
The Woonsocket, Rhode Island native has also represented the United States in several international events, having skated for Team USA at the World Junior Championships (1994, 1995) and World Hockey Championships (1997). He also was also a member of Team USA at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.
The 6-1, 195-pounder was originally drafted by the Ottawa Senators, as their first choice, first overall, in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft.
The Rangers now have 25 active players remaining on their roster, including three goaltenders, eight defensemen and 14 forwards.
The Rangers visit the Bruins tonight at the FleetCenter in Boston in their final road game of the 2001 exhibition season (7:00 PM). Berard is expected to be in the lineup.