New York Rangers prospect Brett Berard on Team USA for WJC

New York Rangers prospect forward Brett Berard will be in action at the World Junior Championship taking place in Edmonton from August 9th to the 20th.

On Sunday, Team USA announced its roster confirming what many suspected, that Berard would be on the team. He along with Brock Faber, Landon Slaggert, and Tyler Kleven helped the U.S. capture Gold in 2021.

“We had a great week of camp followed by a pair of good pre-tournament games to help us finalize our roster,” said John Vanbiesbrouck, general manager of the 2022 U.S. National Junior Team and also the assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey. “We had some spots to fill from December and we filled them in well. These are hard decisions, but we believe these are the 25 best players to achieve our goal.”

USA Hockey

Brett Berard set to play in WJC

brett berard
Brett Berard takes part in the Rangers Prospect Development Camp at the Rangers Training facility in Tarrytown July 12, 2022. Credit: © Frank Becerra Jr. / The Journal News / USA TODAY NETWORK

“It was my first time being part of a team like this,” Berard said about making Team USA for their 2021 Gold Medal run. “In the past I was invited for a try-out camp for the NTDP but this is something special. I hoped I could make the best out of this.”

The Rangers selected Berard in the 5th round of the 2020 Draft. Due to the pandemic, it was held virtually that year.

“I’ve been working towards this my whole life,” Berard recalled about being drafted. “For that day to finally come and see my name on TV is something I will never forget. Being home with my mom and dad, it was awesome. It was pretty crazy“.

Berard will be entering his junior year at Providence College. He registered 38 points in 36 games last season. The Blueshirts have yet to sign him to an entry-level contract.

So can he help this Rangers lineup in the near future? Many feel he can because Berard is fast and feisty despite being undersized at 5-9, 154 lbs. Plus, he can play both wings.

“Ever since I was a kid, I was on the left wing and then when I joined the NTDP, I played a bit of right wing, and I love playing on the right,” he explained. “Being on my off-side sometimes is easier than being on the left side so I am comfortable with either. In the defensive zone, it feels easier playing on the right. If the puck gets rimmed around the boards, I get it on my forehand instead of my backhand making it easier for me. That’s what I like about the right side.”

Berard will face other future Rangers

New York Rangers prospects Brennan Othmann, along with Will Cuylle and Dylan Garand will line up against Berard when Canada and the U.S. eventually face-off.

Othmann, 19, scored 50 goals and 97 points in 66 games for the OHL’s Flint Firebirds this past season. He also added 9 goals and 24 points in 19 postseason games.

After the tournament, Othmann will be joining the Rangers for training camp in September with one mission on his mind.

“The goal is to try and make the team the best that I can,” Othmann said. “I know they’re a strong team with good young players and good leadership too. If I can make the team it’d be great for me and the organization. I had a good season. I played well for myself and [Flint]. If I can come in with that amount of confidence into Rangers camp and make the team it would be something special.”

Cuylle, 20, posted 43 goals and 80 points in 50 games for the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires. He added another 15 goals and 31 points in 25 playoff games.

New York traded away Lias Andersson to the Los Angeles Kings in order to select the 6-3, 212 lbs forward in second round of the 2020 Draft.

Garand, 20, had an amazing record of 34-9 and 4 shutouts for the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers. His GAA was 2.16 and his .925 SV% were good for second in the WHL.

For his career, he amassed a 90-31-5-2 with a 2.33 GAA, and a .919 SV%. The goalie prospect was selected in the fourth round of the 2020 Draft and is expected to compete for a job with the Rangers AHL affiliate in Hartford.

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