Several years after entering the NHL, defenceman Drake Berehowsky came of age as a full-time player. A junior phenom with questionable knees, he was a part-time player for several years before finding his niche with the Edmonton Oilers and the expansion Nashville Predators. Over the years his strength has been moving the puck up ice and working the power play.
Berehowsky starred in Junior B with the Barrie Colts before joining the OHL's Kingston Raiders in 1988-89. He showed superior potential but was felled by a serious knee injury in 1989-90 which made a few pro scouts skeptical of his future. The Toronto Maple Leafs remained undeterred and chose the youngster 10th overall at the 1990 Entry Draft.
The rookie was given a look at the start of the 1990-91 season but was quickly returned to junior. He was a force for two seasons on the North Bay Centennials blueline and was named a First-Team All-Star and the CHL Defenceman-of-the-Year in 1992. After scoring 27 points in 28 games for the AHL's St. John's Maple Leafs, Berehowsky was recalled midway through the 1992-93 season. He fit in well as a puck carrying defenceman on Pat Burns' improved defensive squad and scored 19 points in 41 games. His mobility would have been useful in the 1993 playoffs, but he was hurt late in the season.
Since Toronto was fairly deep on the blueline, Berehowsky saw less playing time in 1993-94 and at the start of the next season. In April 1995 Toronto shipped him to the Pittsburgh Penguins for stay-at-home defenceman Grant Jennings. He toiled briefly in the minors until joining the young Edmonton Oilers in 1997-98.
Berehowsky played a more controlled and confident game for the Oilers while supplying an element of grit as well. He was given even greater responsibility after he was claimed by the expansion Nashville Predators in 1998. Berehowsky worked the power-play and helped guide the club's transition game. In 1999-2000 he set career highs with 12 goals and 32 points. His improvement made him a sought after commodity at the 2001 trading deadline. The Predators dealt him to the Vancouver Canucks where he spent the early part of the 2001-02 season before joining the Phoenix Coyotes midway through the season.
After parts of two seasons with the Coyotes, Berehowsky signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the summer of 2003, his second stint with the club. Upon his arrival with the club, Berehowsky went on to register 21 points (5-16-21) in 47 games before being acquired by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the second half of the season for blueliner Ric Jackman.