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Thursday, August 1, 2019

Lost Cards: 1988-89 OPC Behn Wilson

 Behn Wilson was a highly touted prospect for the 1978 NHL Entry draft.  Wilson was a skilled and rugged defenceman who had already proven his readiness with a 12 game stint in the minor professional league, the IHL.  He was exactly the type of player the Philadelphia Flyers, aka The Broad Street Bullies coveted.  The Flyers, who already owned the 7th overall pick via trade, on the eve of the draft, traded three players, including All-Star defenceman Tom Bladon, for the 6th overall pick with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  The Flyers used the 6th overall pick on Wilson.
  Wilson made the team out of training camp, led all rookie defencemen with 49 points, and finished fourth in Calder voting for the 1978-79 season.  Behn led the Flyers defencemen in scoring in three out of his first four seasons.  Behn also earned a reputation as a feared fighter, even highly regarded by Islanders enforcer Clark Gillies.  In fives seasons a Flyer, Wilson garnered 873 PIM in 339 games.  During Wilson's tenure as a Flyer, he was known for three things, a feared fighter, end-to-end rushes and defensive gaffes.  The 1983-84 season saw Wilson slide down the depth chart of the Flyers.  Prior to the season, the Flyers added international star Miroslav Dvorak and future HHOFer Mark Howe.  Wilson was unusually un-pugilistic in his final season as Flyer, setting a career low of one fight and career low of 93 PIM.  His season a was also marred by a six game suspension received for high-sticking New York Rangers goalie Glen Hanlon. Wilson had also been hobbled by a groin injury that sidelined him in each of the past two seasons.  Considering all this, the Flyers found Wilson to be expendable.  O-Pee-Chee would also follow suit.
  Wilson was traded to the Chicago Black Hawks during the 1983 offseason for defenceman Doug Crossman and a second round pick (Scott Mellanby).  A fantastic trade on the Flyer's end.  As for the Hawks, Wilson would not live up to expectations.  The Hawks even experimented with playing Wilson as a winger.  After two middling seasons, 65 points in 135 games, Wilson had a bounce-back campaign, scoring 51 points in 69, including a career high 10 powerplay goals in 1985-86.  The Hawks won the Norris division and had a first round match-up with the lowly Toronto Maple Leafs.  The Hawks got swept in three games.  In game two, Wilson was caught up in a collision and suffered a devastating back injury.  He would miss the entire 1986-87 season due to back spasms.

1984-85 OPC Behn Wilson
1985-86 OPC Behn Wilson

  Wilson would return to the Hawks for the 87-88 season and score 29 points, 166 PIM, in 59 games.  Due to a contract dispute, Wilson held out during the Hawks training camp the following season.  When the Hawks suspended him, he announced he would retire.  As such, the Hawks left Wilson unprotected in the waiver draft and he was picked up by the Vancouver Canucks.  Wilson stuck to his decision to retire rather than report to the Canucks.
  Wilson had a card for each season he was a Flyer, up until he was traded to the Black Hawks.  He never had a card produced as a Hawk.  So you may have already perused the 84-85 and 85-86 OPC I created, behold below the 1988-89 OPC #268 Behn Wilson career capper Lost Card.

1988-89 OPC #268 Behn Wilson

1988-89 OPC #268 Behn Wilson


  1. The Canucks GM at the time was Pat Quinn, who was Wilson's coach in Philadelphia. Quinn really wanted him to play for the Canucks, but Wilson stayed retired.

    1. Interesting. I thought it was odd he still retired after being selected. If it was only about money, I'd assume the Canucks would know and would have been willing to meet his demands. You'd think connections to Quinn would have help him change his mind