Josef Beranek

Josef Beranek never seemed to fulfill the destiny his on-ice presence suggested. He was big, imposing player who had a good understanding of positioning, which always kept him in the action. But outside of a 28 goal campaign early in his career with Philadelphia and maybe 49 point campaign later in his career with Edmonton, Beranek never seemed like he was going to breakout.

A big reason for that was his pass-first mentality, a common trait of European players, especially in his era. He possessed a very accurate wrist shot, but often passed up scoring chances to try to force a pass to a teammate.

Beranek also maddened a few observers with his failure to keep his feet moving. That's a tough criticism because he had a long stride and good sense of where he should be so he did not often have to hustle to get into position. Yet he was a lumbering skater who could have really benefited from a more explosive first couple of strides.

Physically, Berenak did not contribute. Defensively he was underated.

A very versatile forward in that he could play any of the three positions comfortably, Beranek found lots of interested teams intrigued by his potential, but he never really found a NHL home. He played with Edmonton (twice), Philadelphia, Vancouver, and Pittsburgh (twice) before heading home to the Czech Republic in 2001 to play with Slavia Praha HC for another decade.

In 531 NHL games Beranek scored 118 goals, 144 assists and 262 points. He never won a Stanley Cup, but he was part of the Czech Republic's gold medal winning Olympic team in 1998.


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