Esso Hockey since 1936Legends Of Hockey
Esso Hockey since 1936
Lindros, Eric

Lindros, Eric

Eric Bryan Lindros was born February 28, 1973 in London, Ontario. As a youngster, his scoring prowess immediately drew the attention of NHL scouts, who salivated at the prospect of drafting the teen sensation. In 1988-89, while playing with the St. Michael's Buzzers of the Metro Toronto Junior 'B' Hockey League at the age of 15, Lindros scored 24 goals and 67 points, as well as 193 minutes in penalties, in 37 games leading the Buzzers to the Sutherland Cup as provincial champions.

Eligible for the Ontario Hockey League draft as a 16-year-old, the Lindros family asked the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, who held the first selection, not to choose Eric as they felt he wasn't ready to live so far away from home. But, the Greyhounds selected him anyway, and Eric instead spent the early part of 1989-90 with Detroit Compuware Ambassadors of the NAHL. The Sault eventually traded Lindros's rights to the Oshawa Generals where he would record 36 points in 25 games upon joining the club. The Generals would go on to win the Memorial Cup that spring.

The next season, Lindros led the OHL in scoring with 149 points, winning the Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy, and added the Red Tilson Trophy as the league's most valuable player. He was subsequently awarded the CHL Player of the Year. In March 2008, Oshawa retired Eric's number 88 and declared it Eric Lindros Day in the city.

In parallel to the circumstance he faced in entering the OHL, Lindros went through the same situation in entering the NHL. The Lindros family informed the Quebec Nordiques, who held the first overall selection in 1991, that should they choose Eric, he would not report, citing the lack of marketing potential and language challenges. Nevertheless, the Nordiques chose Eric anyway. Lindros refused to report and went back to Oshawa to play another season of junior instead. He also was selected to join Team Canada at the 1992 Winter Olympic Games, and while the only player on the squad yet to play an NHL game, earned a silver medal with the team.

By 1992, the Nordiques worked out a trade for Lindros. Astonishingly, they had deals in place with both the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers. Finally, an arbitrator ruled in favour of Philadelphia and Lindros was traded to the Flyers.

Dressed in Flyers' orange, black and white, Lindros immediately become one of the most dominating players in the NHL. In 1992-93, his first NHL season, he scored 41 goals and collected 75 points, to go along with 147 minutes in penalties, and was named to the NHL's All-Rookie Team. He increased his productivity in year two, contributing 44 goals, 97 points and 103 penalty minutes.

Prior to the 1994-95 season, Lindros succeeded Kevin Dineen as the captain of the Flyers. He was also playing on the 'Legion of Doom Line' with John LeClair and Mikael Renberg, where he scored 29 goals and 70 points, second-best in the league during the strike-shortened season. For his dominant play he won both the Hart Trophy and the Lester B. Pearson Trophy as the league's most valuable player, as well as a spot on the NHL's First All-Star Team. That spring, the Flyers made their first playoff appearance in six seasons.

Lindros's dominance continued into his fourth season, finishing sixth in scoring with a 115-point season, including 47 goals, earning him selection to the Second All-Star Team. By 1996-97, Lindros and the Flyers rolled through the playoffs, defeating the Penguins, Sabres and Rangers in five games apiece, but they were swept by Detroit in the Stanley Cup Final.

Eric's production was hampered by injuries beginning in 1997-98. The first of a series of concussions took place during that season, although he still managed to tally 71 points. In 1998-99, he was treated for a collapsed lung, and yet, still managed to contribute 93 points, good for seventh-highest in the NHL. A 59-point season followed, complicated by two more concussions.
Lindros became a restricted free agent during the summer of 2001, and the Flyers eventually traded him to the New York Rangers. Lindros spent three seasons in New York, but saw his point totals diminish each season, principally due to injuries. He scored 73 points in 2001-02, earning selection to the All-Star Game, followed by a 53-point season in 2002-03 and 32 points in an injury-shortened 2003-04 campaign.

After the cancellation of the 2004-05 NHL season, Eric signed a one-year contract with the Maple Leafs, but his tenure in Toronto was troubled by wrist injuries. Though he did score 11 goals and 11 assists during 33 games in 2005-06.

The Leafs did not renew their contact with Lindros, who then signed a one-year deal with the Dallas Stars for 2006-07. He played 49 regular season games and collected 26 points.

His hard-driving, physical play had taken its toll and Eric Lindros officially retired on November 8, 2007 at the age of 34. In 760 regular season NHL games, Lindros had 865 points (372 goals and 493 assists) as well as 1,398 penalty minutes. In post-season play, he added 24 goals and 33 assists for 57 points and 122 minutes in penalties in 53 games. Despite injuries that shortened his sensational career, Eric was still named to seven All-Star Games. In international play, Lindros played three times for Canada at the World Junior Championships, twice winning gold, won the championship with his country at the Canada Cup in 1991, was a member of Team Canada at the World Cup of Hockey in 1996, and participated three times in the Olympic Games, winning silver with Canada in 1992 and gold in 2002.

Without question, for a handful of seasons before injuries curtailed his career, Eric Lindros was one of the most exciting and dominating players in the game.

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