Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Don Murdoch
Don Murdoch set hockey scouts' hearts fluttering when he posted back-to-back 80-goal seasons with Medicine Hat of the WCJHL. The New York Rangers selected him sixth overall in the 1976 Amateur Draft.

He made the club out of his first training camp. He was put on a line with Walt Tkaczuk and Greg Polis. On the power play he was sent out with Phil Esposito and Ken Hodge. The results were immediate. In his very first professional game, he scored twice. On October 12, 1976, he scored five goals against Gary Smith of the Minnesota North Stars--a rookie-scoring feat that only Howie Meeker had accomplished. In 15 games he scored 15 times, and that included a successful penalty shot against Curt Ridley of the Vancouver Canucks.

His fast start had made him the toast of Broadway and an All-Star. On Valentine's Day, his Cinderella season came to an end. In a freak accident, Murdoch caught his skate in the boards and suffered torn tendons in his left ankle. Surgery was ordered on the ankle in the off-season. Even so, he collected on his bet with his brother.

His second season was hampered by a shoulder injury but he still collected 27 goals. A bigger concern was a drug possession charge that was winding through the Canadian courts. In August 1977, Don Murdoch was caught at the Toronto airport with 4.5 grams of cocaine rolled up in a sock in his luggage. Years later, he admitted that the strain of his new-found stardom had turned a drinking habit into a drug addiction. After Murdoch pleaded guilty to the charge the NHL suspended him for the 1978-79 season. That suspension was reduced to 40 games on appeal.

"Murder" took part in the 1979 playoff run with the Rangers, but it was clear that he was on the way out. He was moved to the Edmonton Oilers in 1980 and played on a line with Mark Messier and Dave Semenko. Murdoch had a last shot with the Detroit Red Wings before ending his career in the minor leagues.

Following his playing career, Murdoch became a scout for the Rangers and Tampa Bay. From there he became the coach of the East Coast Hockey League Louisiana IceGators.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1973-74 Vernon Vikings BCJHL 45 50 32 82 69
1973-74 Kamloops Chiefs WCJHL 4 1 0 1 9
1974-75 Medicine Hat Tigers WCJHL 70 82 59 141 83 5 1 5 6 15
1975-76 Medicine Hat Tigers WCJHL 70 88 77 165 202 7 4 3 7 23
1976-77 New York Rangers NHL 59 32 24 56 47 +5
1977-78 New York Rangers NHL 66 27 28 55 41 -5 3 1 3 4 4
1978-79 New York Rangers NHL 40 15 22 37 6 -6 18 7 5 12 12
1979-80 New York Rangers NHL 56 23 19 42 16 -11
1979-80 Edmonton Oilers NHL 10 5 2 7 4 0 3 2 0 2 0
1980-81 Edmonton Oilers NHL 40 10 9 19 18 -16
1980-81 Wichita Wind CHL 22 15 10 25 48 18 17 7 24 24
1981-82 Detroit Red Wings NHL 49 9 13 22 23 +1
1981-82 Adirondack Red Wings AHL 24 11 13 24 24 4 5 0 5 14
1982-83 Adirondack Red Wings AHL 35 10 12 22 19
1983-84 Adirondack Red Wings AHL 59 26 20 46 19
1983-84 Montana Magic CHL 17 10 10 20 2
1984-85 Muskegon Mohawks IHL 32 18 13 31 4 16 6 3 9 26
1985-86 Indianapolis Checkers IHL 11 4 3 7 4
1985-86 Toledo Goaldiggers IHL 37 15 23 38 8
1985-86 Muskegon Lumberjacks IHL 12 4 4 8 0
1986-1987
1987-1989 New York Rangers NHLMGNT
1989-1992
1992-1999 Tampa Bay Lightning NHLMGNT
1999-2000 Louisiana IceGators ECHL
NHL Totals 320 121 117 238 155 24 10 8 18 16


Brother of Bob
BCJHL Second All-Star Team (1974)
WCJHL First All-Star Team (1975, 1976)
WCJHL - Rookie of the Year (1975)
Max McNab Trophy (CHL - Playoff MVP) (1981) Played in NHL All-Star Game (1977)
Suspended for entire 1978-79 season by NHL for substance abuse violation, July 6, 1978.
Suspension lifted by NHL after 40 games, January 3, 1979. Traded to Edmonton by NY Rangers for Cam Connor and Edmonton's 3rd round pick (Peter Sundstrom) in 1981 NHL Draft, March 11, 1980. Rights traded to Minnesota by Edmonton for Don Jackson and Minnesota's 3rd round pick (later traded back to Minnesota - Minnesota selected Wally Chapman) in 1982 NHL Draft, August 21, 1981. Rights traded to Detroit by Minnesota with Greg Smith and Minnesota's 1st round pick (Murray Craven) in 1982 NHL Draft for Detroit's 1st round pick (Brian Bellows) in 1982 NHL Draft, August 21, 1981.
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