The Philadelphia Flyers are a classy organization that is filled with rich history and joyous orange clad fans. Of course we know that the Flyers won back to back cups in 1973-74 and 1974-75. Some of the great players that played for the organization are Bobby Clarke, Bill Barber, Mark Howe, Bernie Parent. One name that will also be a mainstay on January 18, 2018 is Eric Lindros. He will finally have his number lifted to the rafters that day, and Lindros will become the sixth Flyer in history to share that honor. After years and years of waiting to receive this honor. Here are three reasons why this was a good move by the Flyers.
Lindros was selected first overall by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1991 NHL Draft. Of course Lindros refused to play for them, and he was eventually traded to the Flyers in 1992. One of the most notable names included in the package was none other than Peter Forsberg. With his physical strength and playmaking ability, Lindros immediately established himself as the top player on the Flyers team in just his first season. For the season, Lindros lit the lamp for 41 goals, and registered 34 assists for a total of 75 points in 61 games played.
The Big “E,” was a playmaking machine. His vision of the ice and hockey IQ was off the charts. Lindros wasn’t just good with his hands or stick, but his physicality is one reason he became so good so fast. For instance, in just his second Lindros registered 44 goals, and 53 assists for a total of 97 points in 65 games played. His imposing physical strength allowed him to be a successful playmaker. It was virtually impossible to take the puck off Lindros.
Of course his hard-nosed style caused significant injuries, and he developed problems with concussions. But, Lindros always battled back and was ready to go. In September of 1994, Lindros succeeded Kevin Dineen as Captain of the Flyers. A season in which it saw him win the Hart Memorial Trophy (MVP), while registering 29 goals, and 41 assists for a total of 70 points in 46 games played. Moreover, in just his first 5 seasons in the NHL, Lindros was around 4th all-time in points per game. Lindros also became one of the most feared and dominating players in the game.
Lindros had no major weaknesses. He razzled and dazzled opponents on a nightly basis. The Big “E,” was very tough to move off the puck. This opened up space for other players, such as, linemates Mikael Renberg, and John Leclair. Lindros was able to feed them night after night, and they both went on to have successful careers in the NHL, thanks in large part to Lindros.
“Legion of Doom”
Featured on the dreaded “Legion of Doom,” line was Mikael Renberg, John Leclair, and Lindros. The legendary “Legion of Doom,” line was formed in the lockout shortened season in 1994-95. Before the line was formed the Flyers had a record 3-7-1 in 11 games played. However, in their final 37 games the Flyers went 25-9-3, and outscored their opponents 128-98. In just its first season of formation the, “Legion of Doom,” line aided the Flyers to the Atlantic Division title, and they made an appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals against the New Jersey Devils. The Flyers eventually fell to the Devils in six games.
Together the, “Legion of Doom,” line made three playoff appearances, and also an appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals in 1997 against the Detroit Red Wings. Yes, the Flyers were swept by the Red Wings in the Stanley Cup. However, this placed the, “Legion of Doom,” line amongst the greatest lines ever formed by this classy organization.
This line was an instant hit in Philadelphia. More impressively, Lindros tallied 76 goals in each of his first two seasons with the “Legion of Doom,” line. For his efforts and the, “Legion of Doom,” Lindros won the Hart Memorial Trophy in the 1994-95 season. Moreover, the “Legion of Doom,” line registered 305 goals, and 361 assists for a total of 666 points in 547 career regular season games played together. Combined they were just flat out dominant in the three seasons they all played together on a line. Unfortunately, they broke up in 1997 when Renberg was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the off-season, but they will remain one of the most profound lines in Philadelphia sports history.
Lindros was a beast, and the numbers don’t lie. He was a force on and off the ice. Over the course of his 13 year NHL career, he averaged more than a point per game. For his career he registered 372 goals, and 493 assists for a total of 865 points in 760 games played. Lindros was flat out dominant, and beat his opponents in every facet of the game.
Of course when the Flyers traded for Lindros in 1992, they hoped that they would receive a quality player that lived up to the hype of his nickname “The Next One.” For his career with the Flyers, Lindros recorded 290 goals, and 369 assists for a total of 659 points in 486 games played. Lindros was inducted into the Flyers Hall of Fame on November 20, 2014, and he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November of 2016.
Of course it wasn’t a happy ending for the Flyers in the way his career ended with them. Everyone knows about the history that he and General Manager Bobby Clarke shared at the end of his Flyers career. What we can do is give the Flyers props for making it right. Truthfully, Lindros will truly go down as one of the best players to ever lace his skates up for this organization, and it’s about time the Flyers sent his number to the rafters.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports