Berard, 29, has missed the Blue Jackets' last 82 games, including the final 31 of last season. He had surgery last March on a herniated disk, and another operation in October to repair a different disk.
He scored 12 goals and had 20 assists in 44 games last season, setting the club record for goals by a defenceman. The Woonsocket, R.I., native has played in 554 career games and totalled 71 goals and 227 assists.
Berard was the 1997 NHL rookie of the year with the New York Islanders and won the Masterton Trophy in 2004 for best exemplifying the qualities of hockey.
He was severely injured in 2000 when he was hit in the right eye with a stick while playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He missed the rest of that season and the following one, and still has reduced vision in the eye.