New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has agreed to a professional contract with defenseman Bryan Berard. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Berard, 24, joined the Rangers on September 28 after signing a professional tryout agreement and appeared in the club’s final two matches of the 2001 exhibition schedule, posting a plus-two rating. The 6-1, 195-pounder will be on the Rangers active roster when they open the 2001-02 NHL regular season tomorrow, Friday, October 5 in Carolina against the Hurricanes.
In 290 career regular season matches with the New York Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs, he has registered 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.
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 was also a member of Team USA at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.
Berard was originally drafted by the Ottawa Senators as the first overall selection in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft.