Joe made his NHL debut on January 8th, 1980 and stuck with Red Wings until the season's end. He scored his first career goal against Don Edwards of the Buffalo Sabres, in a 7-3 loss on February 6, 1981. Paterson struggled to make the Wings roster the next three seasons and spent more time in the minors than the NHL. In the 1983-84 season, Paterson started to rack up the PIM in an effort to stay with the team. Joe accumulated 61 PIM in his first seven games and led the team with 148 PIM while only playing 41 games. While Joe had success with the Adirondack Red Wings in the AHL, 25pts in 20 games, he only netted 7 points during 41 games in 1983-84.
The following season he was part of a youth for experience trade, as the Red Wings traded Joe, and Murray Craven to the Philadelphia Flyers for future HHOFer Darryl Sittler. Paterson only played 6 games during the 84-85 season but he was part of the roster in the play-offs. Joe's role was expanded when Tim Kerr went done to an injury and Joe led the Flyer in scoring, 6pts in 6 games, during their Stanley Cup semi-final against the Quebec Nordiques. He had a Gordie Howe Hat Trick in Game 3 of the series. It was by far his best series as only scored 7pts in 16 total play-off games that year.
Joe started the 1985-86 season with the Flyers but was sent down after the first game to the AHL. After another brief stint with the Flyers in December, Paterson was traded to the Los Angeles King for a 4th round draft pick. Paterson found himself on a line with future HHOFer Marcel Dionne and Dave Taylor. In his first 31 games, Paterson had 8 goals and 27 points. And then the wheels came off. I assume Paterson was dropped off the top line. During March and April, Paterson had 0 points in 16 games. At the same time Dionne had 15pts in 18 games and Taylor had 9pts in 16. When checking the scoring logs, I couldn't find any obvious replacement for Paterson on the Dionne-Taylor line. I wonder what happened.
Paterson's exile from the top line continued in 1986-87. Injuries shortened his season and Paterson did not record a point until March 26, when he went on a small 3 points in 4 games streak. Paterson finished the season with 3 points and 148 PIM in 41 games. Paterson stayed in the same role the following season with the Kings, scoring 3 pts, 113PIM, in 31 games before being traded to the New York Rangers. Paterson made an immediate impact scoring a goal and two assists in a 6-3 victory against the Vancouver Canucks. Paterson added a fight in that game to achieve a Gordie Howe Hat Trick in his first game with his new team. He went on to score one point in the remaining 20 games that season. 1988-89 would be Paterson's final NHL season. Limited to only 20 games due to injuries, Paterson had an assist and 84 PIM. He also played 9 games in the IHL and would return to the minors for good the 89-90 season. Paterson retired in 1992.
During his career Paterson had 5 Gordie Howe Hat Tricks, including three with the Kings during a 10 game span in 1985-86. After retiring Paterson went into coaching and would eventually become a Scout with the Los Angeles Kings, winning a Stanley Cup with the team in 2014.
Joe never had any cards made of him during his playing days, nor in any of the retro sets made since his retirement. I am surprised that he never made any of the enforcer sets. He did have a few cards from team sets, as well as minor league cards. Quality pictures of Joe Paterson are hard to come by. I couldn't find any for him as a Red Wing or Flyer. So his rookie card will be as a Los Angeles King. I did find a decent one of him as a Ranger, so I figure I will add a Ranger card as well. I was also able to match this picture with the fight on youtube. This exact moment appears to be 15 seconds into the video as Paterson switches hands and surprises Diduck.
|1989-90 OPC Joe Paterson|
And then we have the Lost Rookie of Joe Paterson. It's amazing that almost half of his career points, 27, came in a stretch of games, 31, that accounts for about 10% of his career total.
|1986-87 OPC #273 Joe Paterson (RC)|
|1986-87 OPC #273 Joe Paterson (RC)|