PHILADELPHIA – Veteran NHL defenceman Bryan Berard will attempt to make an NHL club on a tryout contract, after being invited to training camp with the Philadelphia Flyers.
“Bryan has been around a number of years now (and) he has been a good defenceman for quite some time,” said Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren. “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.”
The 31-year-old Berard was the No. 1 overall draft pick of the Ottawa Senators in 1995, but refused to sign and was traded to the New York Islanders.
In 619 career games covering 12 years with the Islanders, Toronto, New York Rangers, Boston, Chicago and Columbus, Berard has 76 goals and 247 assists. Last season with the Islanders, he had five goals and 17 assists in 54 games.
Berard, from Woonsocket, R.I., sustained a severe eye injury in 2000 while playing with Toronto that was thought to be career-ending. He made it back to the NHL but tested positive for steroids in 2005 after he was listed on a U.S. Olympic hockey preliminary roster, and was banned from international competition for two years.
He wasn’t suspended by the NHL because the failed test wasn’t a part of the league’s drug program.
“I thank the Flyers for giving me this opportunity to try out,” said Berard. “I am really looking forward to this. I have been around for a while and training camps are nothing new for me. I like to come in and compete at a high level.”