On August 28th, the Philadelphia Flyers organization announced that next season, before a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on January 18th, Eric Lindros will join the revered ranks of other Flyers legends and have his number retired and raised to the rafters forever.
Lindros, who was recently inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame this past year, forged a tumultuous yet remarkable 15 year career in the NHL, with his best moments coming as a member of the Flyers, from his draft year in 1992 until 2000. Lindros was acquired by the Flyers in an infamous trade with the Quebec Nordiques immediately after he was drafted, which sent a massive package back to Quebec, including Peter Forsberg, Ron Hextall, Mike Ricci, two first round picks, and fifteen million dollars. The king’s ransom he was acquired for immediately worked against Lindros, as it seemed like he would have to perform at a superhuman level to match up to the value lost.
Well, it turned out he would do just about that.
In his rookie season, Lindros had 75 points in 61 games, missing out on the Calder trophy due to him not playing a full season, and continued his pace and growth until the 1995 season, where he exploded for 115 points in 73 games, winning the Hart trophy for Most Valuable Player. After this season it was clear to all who were paying attention that there was a new star brewing in Philly, and for the next four seasons Lindros proved his worth whenever he took to the ice. Unfortunately, injures made sure that task became increasingly more difficult. Lindros during his time with the Flyers suffered six reported concussions, the worst coming via a Scott Stevens headshot in 2000. The repeated battering may have slowed Lindros down, but he was still dominant force for a extended period time with the Flyers, amassing 659 points in 486 games, and a point per game percentage of 1.138, good for 17th best in NHL history. Even in spite of his injuries, Eric Lindros is one of the most fearsome and powerful offensive talents to ever pull on Flyers jersey, and to ever play the game. A physical specimen, a 6 foot 4, 230 pound power foward with the silky hands and movement of a 5-9 sniper, a total anomaly never seen before. He holds high standing in all major Flyers offensive categories, as well as having the best points per game percentage in Flyers history, besting second place Tim Kerr by far. He centered what was for a time the most feared line in hockey in the “Legion of Doom”, he led the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Final in 1997, and left an indelible mark on the game whenever he stepped on the ice. He is arguably the most gifted player to ever play for the Flyers, and even though it is tempting to wonder what he could have been without injuries, it is more prudent to marvel at what happened in spite of them, a superb hockey player who deserves every accolade he is now getting, even if it may be a little late.
Featured Image: Getty Images