20 years ago, the Quebec Nordiques drafted star Eric Lindros. He refused to play for the club, leading to him sitting out the 1991-92 season. Lindros played part of the OHL season with Oshawa and was on Canada’s silver medal winning Olympic hockey team in 1992.
The trade was Flyers 1991 first rounder Peter Forsberg, Ron Hextall, Steve Duchesne, Mike Ricci, Kerry Huffman, Chris Simon, two first round picks (Jocelyn Thibault, Nolan Baumgartner) and $15 million. At the time, it was an overpayment. It looks even worse knowing what happened after. But the Flyers weren’t the only team interested. The Rangers put together a package of Doug Weight, Tony Amonte, Alexei Kovalev, John Vanbiesbrouck, three first round picks and $12 million. The Rangers’ package included guys that were key parts, or traded for key parts, of their Stanley Cup run in 1994. So why would a team who was first in the conference in 1991-92 willing to trade three young future stars, its’ starting goalie, among other assets for Lindros?
Lindros was touted as the “Next One”. He was going to take the torch from Gretzky, become the next great NHL superstar and lead the league into a new era. Hindsight showed that Lindros never came close to his potential, thanks mainly to injuries. But at the time, every hockey fan knew his name. And remember 1992 was a time before the internet, before fans could read about any prospect. He was on hockey cards even before he had been drafted, which didn’t happen in those days. Lindros was that big of a star.