1978: Bill Derlago
Drafted by: Vancouver Canucks
555 NHL Games Played
0 Stanley Cups
0 All Star Games
Another player drafted 4th overall by the Canucks, another player who wasn’t able to live up to those high expectations. To be fair to Bill Derlago, a bad knee injury during practice meant he sat out most of the 1978-79 season. 79-80 was better, 26 points in 54 games is nothing to shake a (hockey) stick at, but whatever Vancouver were looking for, they couldn’t find it in the Manitoban Centre.
In February 1980, Derlago was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs alongside Rick Vaive for Tiger Williams and Jerry Butler. The trade worked well for Derlago and his seven seasons in the Big T were the best of his career. He was shooting more, and had two seasons where he scored at least a point per game. It’s debatable whether or not he was playing at the level expected of a first round draft pick, but he was definitely a key part of the Leafs team of the early 80s.
All good things must come to an end though, and after one game at the start of the 1985-86 season, Derlago was traded to Boston in October, then Winnipeg the following January, confirming Derlago’s membership to the Three Teams in Four Months Club. A year later it was onto Quebec, followed by a brief stint in Switzerland before retiring from the game.