Top Players in Flyers’ History: No. 8 Eric Lindros
March 26, 2010 Leave a comment
Unfortunately, they are not all good highlights.
This one is a compilation of how much of an all-around player Lindros was when he came into the NHL.
Eric Lindros was the most touted played since Mario Lemieux when the 1991 NHL Entry Draft was coming.
The problems with Lindros’ teams started well before he was in the NHL. When he was drafted first overall by the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Lindros had already stated that he was not going to play for the Greyhounds. Owner Phil Esposito drafted him anyway, and wound up trading his rights to the Oshawa Generals.
In Oshawa, Lindros tore up the league, scoring 97 goals and 119 assists for 216 points in just 95 games played. At the end of his OHL career, Lindros’ number 88 was retired by the Generals.
Before the 1991 NHL Entry Draft, Lindros had also stated that if drafted by the Quebec Nordiques, the team with the first overall pick, he would not suit up for them, “citing distance, lack of marketing potential, and having to speak French” (Wikipedia). The Nordiques drafted him anyway, and said that if he was not going to play for the Nordiques, then he was not going to play at all in this league.
Then, in 1992, the Nordiques had finalized trades with the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers for Lindros. After much fuss, an arbitrator ruled that the Flyers had the rights to Eric Lindros. The trade with the Rangers would have included Lindros being traded for Doug Weight, Tony Amonte, Alexei Kovalev, John Vanbiesbrouck and three first round draft picks (1993, 1994 and 1995) and $12 million.
The epic trade that has gone down as one of the worst in Flyers’ history went as follows: Eric Lindros to the Flyers for Peter Forsberg, as well as Ron Hextall, Chris Simon, Mike Ricci, Kerry Huffman, Steve Duchesne, a 1st round selection (Jocelyn Thibault) in 1993, a 1st round selection (later traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs, later traded to the Washington Capitals – Nolan Baumgartner) in 1994, and $15,000,000 cash.
Eric Lindros immediately dominated the league, and won the Hart Memorial Trophy as league MVP in the lockout shortened 1994 season. He was even ranked 54th on THN’s list of top 100 hockey players of all time, and he had only played six seasons!
However, things quickly went south for the superstar center. Not only did he start having problems with General Manager Bobby Clarke, but his health deteriorated as well.
This is one of many concussions that Scott Stevens had given to Eric Lindros throughout Eric’s career. Lindros also had problems with team doctors after the Flyers’ training staff had failed to realize that Lindros had suffered a collapsed lung.
The Flyers’ staff continued to have problems with Lindros, and even after stripping him of his captaincy, he still did not shut up. He and his father seemed to want out of Philadelphia, and after years of problems and numerous concussions, Bobby Clarke finally executed a trade between the Flyers and the Rangers, a deal in which the Flyers got significantly less than they gave up to get Lindros in 1991.
In his NHL career, Lindros scored 372 goals and 865 points in 760 games, 659 of those points being with the Flyers. He is indeed one of the best Flyers’ to ever put on the orange and black of the team. Even though there were many problems, there is no argument that Lindros changed the team for the better for at least the first few years of his career, and is number eight on this list of top Flyers’ in history.
This is the third part of a ten part series. Stay tuned for the rest of the series!
Alan Bass is a writer for The Hockey News and THN.com. In addition to writing for Inside Hockey and Pro Hockey News, he has also worked for the Philadelphia Flyers. He is the General Manager of the Muhlenberg College hockey team as well. You can contact him atBergHockey24@gmail.com.