The Calgary born Peterson was actually a scoring star in junior hockey. Having split 4 seasons in the WCJHL with the Edmonton Oil Kings and Portland Winter Hawks, the 6'0" 190lb center was drafted in the 1st round, 12th overall, by the Detroit Red Wings in 1978.
Detroit rushed him into the NHL. It was not a good situation for Peterson, as he was expected to help out the struggling franchise but clearly needed some development time in the minor leagues first. He had a high degree of hockey sense and anticipation, and was a strong skater, but his offensive game never developed in the National Hockey League.
The Red Wings gave up on Peterson prior to Christmas 1981. He was traded with Mike Foligno and Dale McCourt to the Sabres in exchange for Danny Gare, Jim Schoenfeld and Derek Smith. It remains one of the most famous trades in Sabres history.
Foligno became a star player for many years in Buffalo. McCourt put in a couple of nice seasons as well. Peterson really developed into a strong character player in Buffalo over the next 4 years.
Peterson's contributions were never measured by numbers. He averaged 11 goals and 40 points in the high scoring early days of the 1980s. More impressively he was a collective plus 28.
Peterson was exposed on waivers prior to the 1985-86 season, and was subsequently claimed by the Vancouver Canucks. He put in two years of yeoman's duty in Vancouver before joining the Hartford Whalers for 2 more seasons.
The Whalers didn't offer Peterson a player's contract come the end 1989, but they did offer him a job as the team's assistant coach. He retired from the game as a player, but embarked on a long journey as a coach which included stops as head coach of his alma matter in WHL Portland and with the NHL's Nashville Predators.
Brent, the brother of CFLer Greg Peterson (Calgary Stampeders), continues to coach even though he was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease back in 2005.