But his physical style of play was good enough to catch the attention of the Detroit Red Wings who drafted him 87th overall in the 1979 entry draft. They brought him on board the following year and placed him in a straitjacket as a quasi-enforcer who, in his own opinion, could have used more seasoning in the minors.
He eventually got his wish as he spent his first six big-league seasons, being bounced to the AHL on an annual basis. It was not until the Flyers, who had procured his services in 1984, sent him to the Kings that Paterson finally got a consistent NHL job. In Los Angeles and later in New York, he was able to string together three and a half seasons of fight and play-it-tough hockey. At times the Kings even dropped him onto a line with Marcel Dionne and Dave Taylor to, as coach Pat Quinn put it, to keep his high-priced help running smoothly.
Paterson lasted 20 games with the Rangers in 1988-89 before being dispatched to the minors where he rounded out his career with stops in Denver, Flint, Binghamton, and Phoenix.
Courtesy of the Hockey Hall of Fame