2019-20 Team: US National Development Team
Date of Birth: Sept. 9, 2002
Place of Birth: East Greenwich, Rhode Island
Ht: 5-foot-9 Wt: 152 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2020 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 45th
- Craig Custance, TSN: 81st
- Dobber Prospects: 47th
- THW Larry Fisher’s May Ranking: 68th
- THW Josh Bell February Ranking: 85th
- THW Andrew Forbes March Ranking: 89th
Brett Berard was born into hockey; his father David played goalie for Providence College and currently coaches at Holy Cross University. The younger Berard received the opportunity of a lifetime when he was invited to play for the US National Development Team in Michigan. He gave up playing with his brother for a chance to be trained by the best, hoping it may lead to a professional career.
Related: THW’s 2020 Draft Guide
Although his lowly stature requires him to work harder than most, he is inspired by Brad Marchand who has mastered the art of playing “big” among even bigger players. In his second season with the team Berard dished out the third-highest point totals and has one year remaining before graduation. Surviving the rigors of the big league is always a concern of most scouts and reasonably so. Berard has already committed to playing for his father’s alma-mater in 2021.
Other THW Draft Profiles:
Brett Berard – Draft Projection
Once again, NHL Central Scouting has propped up an American player from the USNDT program — placing him 45th overall — while the rest of the scouting industry has cut him down one or two whole rounds. Most recently, Andrew Forbes of The Hockey Writers has placed him at a new low — No. 89 — late in the third round. Dobber Prospects believes he belongs closer to his Central ranking, suggesting his skill set is very real and more substantial than his height.
Berard’s Central Scouting grade was boosted by an exceptional performance this season, but this will most likely be stunted by the effects of the pandemic. Berard is one of the younger players eligible for the draft and it is probable his youth combined with height has contributed to his slide from the mid-term ranking. His name has been found in three different rounds across draft boards and one can surmise either a premature selection by an overly speculative team or he will fall far, where he could become the kid “that got away.”
“As an undersized guy, I’m trying to play like (5-9, 181-pound Boston Bruins forward) Brad Marchand. He doesn’t take anything from anyone, no matter how big they are, and he’s a great offensive player.” – Berard of himself
“Brett’s size means he has to have the drive to have the skills the bigger players don’t have and the willingness to take pucks into tough areas in order to do what he needs to do. There are various ways to do it, guys like Theo Fleury (5-6, 182), Johnny Gaudreau (5-9, 165) and Alex DeBrincat (5-7, 165) have shown that, but Brett has a feisty side, so we use tapes of Marchand to work with him. We talked, it’s funny, to the NHL scouts in Central Scouting about him before the season and we said there’s going to be a big jump, that he was going to be a surprise.” – coach Seth Appert
- Quick hands
- Size and Strength
- Shot power
When you’re 6-foot-4, the team will make room for you. When you’re short you have to make room for yourself. Being smaller than most, the maturity of Berard’s game will be critical if he intends to force his way onto a roster. Fortunately, he has his father-coach to help keep him focused. Berard also has a lot of physical development ahead before getting a sniff at the limelight.
Assuming he gets his weight and strength up, his style of play is suited for a middle-six role, but physicality in the minors will be essential to “making it.” I like Brian Gionta and his brother Stephen Gionta as even better models for his potential. He may very well be a boom-or-bust player, but all eyes will be on him as he continues to raise eyebrows.
Risk – 4/5, Reward – 3/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offence – 6/10, Defence – 5/10
2019-20 Five Nations Tournament Winner
2017-18 Providence Journal All-State Hockey Player