When we left the Saskatoon Westerns last time, they had participated in their first NHL Entry Draft, using General Manager Ardal Ekrub's objective Project-a-Tron rankings, and finished their first NHL season with a decent 73 points before losing to the mighty Edmonton Oilers in the first round of the playoffs.
While the regular season results are interesting enough, it's really the draft picks that Ekrub is interested in. He's counting on using the draft to select players that are undervalued by other clubs. For now, this typically means small players and Europeans, both of which other teams shy away from much more than they should. As such, the 1983 Entry Draft yielded Petr Klima, Raimo Helminen, Peter Andersson, Esa Keskinen, and Tommy Albelin, as well as some guy called Esa Tikkanen. It will be several years before these players pay full dividends in terms of NHL performance, but with the benefit of hindsight we already know there are some very good players in that group.
The player selected by the Westerns in 1983, though, was diminutive center Dale Derkatch. Listed at 5'5", it's no surprise that NHL teams passed on him despite his gaudy junior scoring numbers. He would finish his Regina Pats career with 222 goals and 269 assists for 491 points in 204 regular season games, and add another 103 points in 54 playoff games. In the real world, Edmonton drafted him in the seventh round, number 140 overall. In our little fantasy, Saskatoon grabbed him with the 33rd selection of the draft, which was the highest they had. And they were glad to get him, since the Project-a-Tron indicated he was the best prospect available in the 1983 Entry Draft, edging Pat LaFontaine by 0.4 projected GVT per peak season.
Again in the real world, Derkatch never played a game of professional hockey in North America. After leaving the WHL, he played a couple of games for the University of Manitoba before turning professional in Europe, signing with Asiago of the Italian league. In his first season, he recorded 100 points, good enough for 11th in league scoring; but he would have been fourth had he played every scheduled game at that pace. He then spent three seasons with a very good Ilves Tampere team in Finland, finishing seventh, ninth, and fifth in league scoring. Several years in Germany followed, with sixth-, third- and second-place finishes in the scoring race. He continued to play effectively until 1997-98, mostly in Germany.