The Florida Panthers selected puck-rushing defenseman Carter Berger in the fourth round (106th overall) at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft back in June at Rogers Place in Vancouver after he wasn’t picked in 2018.
In the season prior to being chosen by the Cats, Berger played in 54 games with the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies and piled up 27 goals and 36 assists to go along with 48 PIM. This was a pretty solid jump over his first-year production of eight goals and 18 points.
I had previously done two check-ins (November and January) with Florida’s 2019 draft class as they began the 2019-20 season, so we’ll start with that text and then see how he finished off the campaign before it was first postponed on March 12, and then ultimately canceled six days later due to the coronavirus.
November: After three seasons in the BCHL with Victoria Grizzlies, this year Berger made the jump to NCAA competition with the Connecticut Huskies. The freshman defender has collected two assists in 11 games to go along with 6 PIM and a -2 rating. Berger put up a whopping 63 in his final season with the BCHL Grizzlies, so look for his offensive numbers to increase as he becomes more comfortable and his role increases at UConn.
January: After checking in with Berger in late November, he promptly ran off a five-game point streak for the Huskies, which included his first-ever NCAA goal in 7-4 win over Vermont on December 7. Berger hasn’t picked up a point in his last seven games, but continues to have a pretty solid freshman season for Connecticut.
May: Berger appeared in 31 games during his first season in Storrs and finished the season with 10 points coming on a pair of goals and eight assists. He posted a +4 rating and put up two power-play points. His best game of the season was a goal and two assist performance in a 3-2 upset win on home ice over No. 8 Massachusetts on February 28.
With much uncertainly looming on the horizon of the NHL/AHL landscape, look for Berger to return to Storrs next season and perhaps the year afterwards, so he can hone the offensive skills he displayed in junior at the NCAA level before he turns pro,
What does Berger’s future hold?
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