November 02, 2015
When Wilson was drafted 11th overall in the 1971, was compared to a young Frank Mahovlich. "He's Frank's size," said coach Scotty Bowman. "he shoots about as well. And he has that same big stride, moving down left wing."
"We consider him one of the good young players that are going to give us a good future." That was an understatement! They also drafted Guy Lafleur and Larry Robinson that draft as well. Imagine if Wilson had achieved his lofty comparison and was anywhere near as good as The Big M?
Unfortunately for Murray, he never came close to emulating Mahovlich. The major reason for that was depth on the Canadiens left side. Future Hall of Famers Bob Gainey and Steve Shutt occupied the the top two spots, while Yvon Lambert was also present. Wilson was forced to carve out a career as role player.
While he likely would have scored more often with just about any other team in the league, Wilson had no complaints. He was a member of perhaps the greatest team in hockey history, and won 3 Stanley Cups.
Wilson's career was cut short due to a spinal fusion. He missed almost the entire 1977-78 season because of it. The Canadiens sent him to Los Angeles once he attempted a comeback. He only played one year in Los Angeles before retiring.
Murray's brother Doug achieved great things as a hard shooting defenseman with the Chicago Blackhawks. Murray possessed a similarly lethal shot, though didn't get to display it too often.