The Florida Panthers selected puck-rushing defenseman Carter Berger in the fourth round (106th overall) of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft at Rogers Place in Vancouver, British Columbia after he went unselected in the 2018 event.
In the season prior to being chosen by former Cats GM Dale Tallon, 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 significant jump over his first-year production of eight goals and 18 points.
After three seasons with the Junior A Grizzlies, Berger joined the Connecticut Huskies in the fall of 2019. He appeared in 31 games during his freshman season in Storrs and finished the campaign with two goals and eight assists. He posted a +4 rating and put up two power-play points. Berger registered an assist in his NCAA debut vs. Army West Point. 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.
Berger returned to Connecticut for his sophomore season and appeared in 21 games. He scored one goal, in a 4-2 win over Maine on February 27, and added eights, boosting his points per game average from .322 to .428. Berger finished the year with 39 shots on goal, six blocks, 6 PIM and +2 rating.
The 21-year-old has yet to sign an entry-level contract and is not coming to development camp, so look for him to return to the Huskies. Berger is a good puck-rusher with a heavy shot who also plays a strong defensive game. While he has shown signs of his offensive potential, he hasn’t broken out yet. With much ice time and a bigger role that could come in his junior season.
Underground poll o’ the day
Will Berger earn an ELC with the Panthers?