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How good Bryan Berard could have been?

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10-25-2013, 01:19 AM
  #1
Horvath Broncos
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How good Bryan Berard could have been?

without the horrible eye injury he looked to be destined for one heckuva career. he was awesome offensively and atleast okay defensively. I might be little biased because he was one of my favorite players of all-time, but i firmly believe he would have been Norris caliber defenseman if it wasn't for the eye injury. he propably still play in the NHL which is pretty sad. so what do you think?

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10-25-2013, 01:39 AM
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Darth Yoda
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I dont think the DPE did really favor players like him anyway. But looking forward to more responses here.

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10-25-2013, 01:41 AM
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Tiny bit hazy on this because there wasn't a great deal of reason to pay attention to the Islanders at the time, but that doesn't really fit my recollection. I want to say he was kind of a bonehead and not in a "young defensemen will make rookie mistakes" sort of way.

He came out of the gate red hot, but it seems to me he didn't get an inch better over the next few years and, if anything, got worse (still referring to before the eye injury here). Against the players he'd have been competing with during his prime (Bourque, Lidstrom, Leetch, Pronger, Niedermayer), I don't know that he had the innate hockey smarts to be contending for Norrises, let alone winning them. Was sort of a horse without a jockey, not unlike a Jack Johnson.

As for still being in the league...I think he'd probably be nearing the end of the road if he was. Skating was such a big part of his game and the legs are the first thing to go.

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10-25-2013, 01:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billybudd View Post
Tiny bit hazy on this because there wasn't a great deal of reason to pay attention to the Islanders at the time, but that doesn't really fit my recollection. I want to say he was kind of a bonehead and not in a "young defensemen will make rookie mistakes" sort of way.

He came out of the gate red hot, but it seems to me he didn't get an inch better over the next few years and, if anything, got worse (still referring to before the eye injury here). Against the players he'd have been competing with during his prime (Bourque, Lidstrom, Leetch, Pronger, Niedermayer), I don't know that he had the innate hockey smarts to be contending for Norrises, let alone winning them. Was sort of a horse without a jockey, not unlike a Jack Johnson.

As for still being in the league...I think he'd probably be nearing the end of the road if he was. Skating was such a big part of his game and the legs are the first thing to go.
what you say may be true, except his prime would have propably been in time after Bourque and Leetch, but still he would have had quite tough competition for the Norris. in fact he would have been only 28 in the season after the lockout so his best years wouldn't have been in the dead puck era.

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10-25-2013, 01:57 AM
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what you say may be true, except his prime would have propably been in time after Bourque and Leetch, but still he would have had quite tough competition for the Norris. in fact he would have been only 28 in the season after the lockout so his best years wouldn't have been in the dead puck era.
You have a good point, which is what really jumps out of his stats as well, his high PPG right around the lockout, although those +/- are absolutely brutal per game no matter the bad team. His demise from there can hardly be attributed too much to the eye injury though. Perhaps he got robbed of his peak right there, whatever happened in 2006 or whatever.

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10-25-2013, 03:19 AM
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It seems like he sort of stagnated after his rookie season even before the injury so I don't think he would have been great. However, I think without the injury he would have still developed into a really good defenseman, probably one of the better ones on Team USA. His best shot for the Norris would have been 03-04. That was Lidstrom's off year and it seemed like a wide open race that year. I don't think he would have been a Hall of Famer but would probably be inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame.

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10-25-2013, 08:35 AM
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Reminded me of Iafrate. Brilliant talent, but no feel for the game.

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10-25-2013, 08:38 AM
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Reminded me of Iafrate. Brilliant talent, but no feel for the game.
Yeah exactly. Was thinking Phaneuf earlier but not enough to post it. For some reason i get the feeling that Berard was a bit soft but i dont think that he was really, although probably not on Iafrate and Phaneufs level.

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10-25-2013, 11:28 AM
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Even before the eye injury I thought he was quite poor defensively. But his offensive game was outstanding.

He might have had a similar career to Sandis Ozolinsh maybe? One of the top offensive defensemen, but not thought of highly defensively.

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10-25-2013, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DannyFox View Post
what you say may be true, except his prime would have propably been in time after Bourque and Leetch, but still he would have had quite tough competition for the Norris. in fact he would have been only 28 in the season after the lockout so his best years wouldn't have been in the dead puck era.
Post lockout, he'd still have Nieds, Pronger and Lidstrom to contend with but now you add, for example, a player like Duncan Keith, who's another horse like Berard, but a bigger, smoother, smarter one. Sergei Gonchar also put together two seasons post-05-lockout that were better than what I'd expect from Berard. Chara was emerging as a dominant force around that time, too.

Basically, no, I don't think he'd have seen a Norris win. Nomination...anything's possible once.

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10-25-2013, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Yoda View Post
Yeah exactly. Was thinking Phaneuf earlier but not enough to post it. For some reason i get the feeling that Berard was a bit soft but i dont think that he was really, although probably not on Iafrate and Phaneufs level.
Berard wasn't soft. He actually one-punched a guy I know back in junior.

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10-25-2013, 02:08 PM
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i think i have been really biased with my opinion about him seeing i thought he would win atleast one Norris. but i believe you guys. i always will have a soft spot for him.

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10-25-2013, 02:18 PM
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Berard was never a defensive standout, but if not for the injury he would have easily played over 1000 games and probably put up 700+ points. A very good career for a d-man. More of an "x" factor type of player-kind of like a smaller Byfuglien. He had excellent size, was a very good skater, and had all the offensive tools. That said, I doubt he would have challenged for a Norris.

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10-25-2013, 02:24 PM
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Reading the name Jack Johnson and I nodded immediately. That comparison felt pretty right to me. Both wanderers, both liked to rush the puck, both don't have hockey sense.

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10-25-2013, 02:40 PM
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Dennis Bonvie
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Perhaps the worst defensively I've seen in the NHL.

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10-25-2013, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
Perhaps the worst defensively I've seen in the NHL.
that is hard for me to believe. sure he was no Rod Langway but I'd say he was decent defensively. I remember he made quite a few mistakes, but he still wasn't that bad. He also played almost all of his NHL career in absolutely horrible teams, which probably made him look worst than he really was.

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10-25-2013, 03:01 PM
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Dennis Bonvie
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that is hard for me to believe. sure he was no Rod Langway but I'd say he was decent defensively. I remember he made quite a few mistakes, but he still wasn't that bad. He also played almost all of his NHL career in absolutely horrible teams, which probably made him look worst than he really was.
No, I thought he was terrible. Defensively. Pre or post injury. Zero defensive instincts.

Says a lot about his offensive abilities, much like Phil Housley.

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10-25-2013, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DannyFox View Post
without the horrible eye injury he looked to be destined for one heckuva career. he was awesome offensively and atleast okay defensively. I might be little biased because he was one of my favorite players of all-time, but i firmly believe he would have been Norris caliber defenseman if it wasn't for the eye injury. he propably still play in the NHL which is pretty sad. so what do you think?
When he got hurt he was still learning the game, in the couple years he was a Leaf he was really getting better in his own end. Top notch offensive ability for sure, but was also establishing a physical game as well. He was a product of 18-19 year old defenders being rushed. I don't think he was a Norris type guy but certainly a potential number 1, Berrard, McCabe and Kabs were 3 really nice young defenders

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10-25-2013, 03:55 PM
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If Berard stayed healthy and hit his peak, the best comparison I have for him today is none other than PK Subban.

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10-25-2013, 03:58 PM
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Remember, it can be argued that before the eye injury he was starting to slow down..........offensively even. Put it this way, one year before the eye injury the Isles traded him. You've got a guy two years removed from the Calder trophy, a supposed young slick offensive defenseman and you trade him? Mad Mike Milbury is the worst GM the game has ever seen, but in hindsight I can see why he let him go.

1997 - 48 points in 82 games
1998 - 46 points in 75 games
1999 - 34 points in 69 games
2000 - 30 points in 64 games................and then the eye injury

I remember when the Leafs got him, and you would think we'd have thought we won the lottery, but even though he wasn't even 22 yet, I never thought we were getting a superstar. For whatever reason, his stock had fallen, even then.

My thought with Berard was that he wasn't strong defensively. He made lovely end to end rushes but teams seemed to catch up with him on that one. I guess a lot of it was in between the ears, I never thought his hockey sense was up to par. Hockey sense is the one lasting trait that will get you an NHL job forever, but he didn't have it.

I don't know what career he has if he never gets the eye injury. Maybe Steve Duchesne if he's lucky? Honestly, I never saw "superstar in the making" with him once teams caught onto him, and that was well before his eye injury.

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