The big and burly Marc-Andre Bernier was drafted by the Halifax Mooseheads in the second round of the 2001 QMJHL Entry Draft after playing two years with Laval in midget hockey. Tall and strong, he was able to make the Mooseheads roster at the age of 16, though he went scoreless his first season due to his youth and a lack of playing time.
It was during the 2002-03 season when Bernier began to make a name for himself, scoring 29 goals and 58 points in 67 games, Bernier displayed a great deal of consistency and strength throughout the season that had scouts taking an extra look at him. Some said Marc-Andre may have been slated to go in the first round until a knee injury in the QMJHL playoffs sidelined him and just might have cost him a shot at being a first round pick. At the 2003 draft, Bernier was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in the second round
By the time the 2003-04 QMJHL season started up, Bernier was considered to be one of the top power forwards in the Quebec league. Through 58 games, he scored 27 goals and 50 points, considered somewhat of a disappointment statistically, but he did display a much stronger power game and a greater commitment to play away from the puck.
The hallmarks to Bernier’s game are twofold: being a big body and scoring goals. Bernier is not only big, but is very strong, and is a presence along the boards as well as in front of the net, either winning battles for the puck by simply overpowering his opponents, or banging home rebounds in the goal crease. He does lack a mean streak however, and at times he can forget how big he is and can be inconsistent with his physical game, though this is likely something that will go away with maturity. His shot is extremely hard and accurate from inside the faceoff dots, though he does not score many goals from much further out than that, and his hands are very quick, allowing him to tip in pucks or make creative dekes on the goaltender or defenders. While seen as a player who has above-average vision and playmaking skills, Bernier sometimes makes poor decisions with the puck and forces passes too much. Still, his offensive game is a consistent one. Over the last two seasons, Bernier has worked hard in his play without the puck, and is now no longer thought of as a defensive liability. His coaches in either Halifax or Cape Breton have used him in all situations, and he has proven that he can play at both ends of the rink. While Bernier has worked on his skating, he still is not very good in this regard. While his acceleration has improved, his overall top speed could use a great deal of improvement.
While his offensive skills are very strong, he lacks the speed and perhaps that extra level of offense to become a first line player in the NHL, but a second line goal scoring power forward is within his grasp if he continues to progress.