Rangers’ Braden Schneider Is Reminiscent of Berard & Redden

Second-year defenseman Braden Schneider shows signs of being like two former New York Rangers’ rearguards, Bryan Berard and Wade Redden. Schneider has displayed offensive skill while stepping up for some big hits thus far in his first two NHL seasons with the Rangers.

Breaking Down Berard

Berard was known as an offensive defenseman in the mold of former Rangers legend Brian Leetch. However, his career changed on March 11, 2000, when Marian Hossa carelessly wielded his stick, and Berard almost lost his right eye. He needed several surgeries to repair it, and his career was never the same. Berard was playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs at the time. The Woonsocket, Rhode Island, native was in his fifth season and had just turned 23 years old.

Braden Schneider New York Rangers
Braden Schneider, New York Rangers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

He was a first-overall pick of the Ottawa Senators in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft and played in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) for the Detroit Jr. Red Wings, which became the Detroit Whalers and then the Plymouth Whalers. During his draft year, Berard helped lead Detroit to an OHL championship, and his team eventually lost in the Memorial Cup Final to the Kamloops Blazers. The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder was named to the OHL’s first all-star team and was also named OHL and Canadian Hockey League (CHL) Rookie of the Year.

Berard missed the whole 2000-01 season while undergoing several eye surgeries and recuperating, but was able to come back in 2001-02, signing with the Blueshirts. He played one season in New York, getting only 23 points in 82 games, and the Rangers didn’t pick up the option on his contract the following season.

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Berard was known mostly for his offensive skills on the back end but often would step up with an open-ice hit like Schneider and get in a scrap or two. Schneider played in one World Junior Championship (WJC) for Team Canada, while Berard played in two for Team USA.

The Skinny on Redden

Redden was the second-overall pick in the same draft as Berard and, like Schneider, played for the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League (WHL). He was more of a steady stay-at-home type of defenseman than Berard. The Lloydminster, Saskatoon, native won the WHL Rookie of the Year Award as an underage player and played in two straight Memorial Cups. The Ottawa Senators traded for Redden in a three-team deal involving several players that landed him in Ottawa and Berard with the New York Islanders. In Redden’s two seasons with the Rangers, he had 40 points in 156 games.

How Schneider Stacks Up

Let’s start with Schneider and Redden in Brandon. Redden, at 6-foot-2, 212 pounds, played three seasons with the Wheat Kings and had 39, 60 and 54 points, respectively. He had a total of 236 penalty minutes (PIMs). The 6-foot-3, 208-pound Schneider, who was drafted 19th overall by the Rangers in 2020, played the tail end of one season before playing three full seasons in Brandon, tallying 22, 24 and 42 points, and then the COVID-shortened season with 27 points in only 22 games and a total of 96 career PIMs. Schneider was not able to help the Wheat Kings to a Memorial Cup berth while playing there.

Wade Redden New York Rangers
Wade Redden #6 of the New York Rangers skates against the Philadelphia Flyers on April 11, 2010 at Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

However, it should be mentioned the game was much different back when Redden and Berard played, and players across the board racked up more PIMs than current juniors and pros. Redden played in over 1,000 NHL games throughout his career and garnered 467 points while being plus-160 with 665 PIMs.

In the OHL, Berard played two seasons and had 164 points in 114 games and racked up 213 PIMs. As far as his shortened or diminished NHL playing career Berard had 323 points in 619 games, which is impressive considering the circumstance. He was minus-98 with 500 penalty minutes. Schneider has played 60 games thus far in the NHL and has 13 points, is plus-7 and has 14 PIMs.

Schneider in Good Company

Schneider is in good company by being compared to these two players. He’s not completely like either of them, but his game combines attributes of Berard and Redden. The mix of toughness with offensive skill while taking care of the defensive zone is why Schneider cracked the Rangers’ lineup so quickly after playing only 26 minor league games.

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