Eric Bryan Lindros (born February 28, 1973) is a retired Canadian professional ice hockey player. Lindros played junior hockey in the OHL for the Oshawa Generals prior to being selected first overall in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft by the Quebec Nordiques. Lindros refused to play for the Nordiques and was eventually traded to the Philadelphia Flyers in June 1992 for a package of players and draft picks including Peter Forsberg. During his OHL career, Lindros led the Generals to a Memorial Cup victory in 1990. Prior to being drafted in 1991, Lindros captured the Red Tilson Trophy as the Most Outstanding Player in the OHL, and also was named the CHL Player of the Year.
Lindros started his NHL career with the Flyers during the 1992–93 season. Lindros was an exemplary power forward, and averaged more than a point per game. His hard-nosed style caused him to miss significant time with injuries, and he had many problems with concussions. Lindros captured the Hart Memorial Trophy and Lester B. Pearson Award after the lockout-shortened 1994–95 season. In August 2001, Lindros joined the New York Rangers via trade. He signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs for the 2005–06 NHL season. He finished his career in 2006–07 with the Dallas Stars.
In international play, Lindros represented Canada at the World Junior Championships three times (1990, 1991, and 1992), winning gold medals in 1990 and 1991. Eric Lindros is Canada’s all time points leader at the WJC with 31 points, 6 points ahead of Jordan Eberle and Ryan Ellis. He has also represented Canada at the World Hockey Championships, leading the team in scoring at the 1993 tournament. In Olympic play, Lindros represented Canada three times (1992, 1998, and 2002), winning a silver medal in 1992 and a gold medal in 2002.
The oldest son of Carl Lindros and Bonnie Roszell-Lindros. Eric has Swedish heritage. The name “Lindros” means “Rose of the Linden tree”. His great grandfather Axel immigrated to Canada from small village Bredaryd in Sweden, and Eric is the third generation of the Lindros family to be born in Canada. His father Carl Lindros received a B.A. from theUniversity of Western Ontario (where he played football, well enough to be drafted 30th overall by the Edmonton Eskimos in the 1970 CFL College Draft), and became a Chartered Accountant. His mother Bonnie is a registered nurse. He has one brother Brett and one sister Robin.
The book “Fire and Ice” published in October 1991 by HarperCollins Publishers chronicled the life and early hockey career of Lindros.
Junior career (1989–1992)
As a teenage power forward playing minor hockey, Lindros became nationally famous both for his scoring feats and his ability to physically dominate players older than himself. He attended Monarch Park and later St. Michael’s College School in Toronto with his brother and fellow hockey player, Brett Lindros. Both brothers at one time or another (Eric in 1988–89) played for the school’s Metro Junior “B” St. Michael’s Buzzers before moving up to the OHL. Lindros’s play made him the most highly valued amateur player in North America and he was often nicknamed “The Next One“, a reference toWayne Gretzky‘s moniker “The Great One”.
Throughout his career, Lindros has been tagged with various other nicknames, including “The Big E”, which was originally the nickname of the USS Enterprise, the famous World War II aircraft carrier. The hype around Lindros during his early career led to an exclusive deal with sports card manufacturer SCORE. Attempting to leverage this arrangement as much as possible, he was even featured on abaseball card showing him as a third baseman for the Toronto Blue Jays, although the closest he came to a professional baseball career was taking batting practice one day with the Blue Jays.
He played parts of three seasons for the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) from 1990 to 1992. During that time, he scored 180 goals, 200 assists, 380 points and had 437 penalty minutes in 157 games played. Lindros helped lead the Generals to the 1990 J. Ross Robertson Cup, and a 1990 Memorial Cup victory. During the 1990–91 OHL season, Lindros won the Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy as top scorer, the Red Tilson Trophy as MVP, the CHL Player of the Year award, and the CHL Top Draft Prospect Award.
1991 NHL Entry Draft
Lindros’s entry to the National Hockey League proceeded in much the same manner. Lindros was selected first overall by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft. Lindros had signaled in advance that he would never play for the Nordiques, citing distance, lack of marketing potential, and having to speak French; the team selected him anyway. The Nordiques president publicly announced that they would make Lindros the centrepiece of their franchise turnaround, and refused to trade Lindros, saying that he would not have a career in the NHL as long as he held out. Because of Lindros’ popularity and hype, it is alleged that the NHL President intervened to get the Nordiques to trade him, as it would otherwise damage the image of the league. While he awaited a trade, Lindros spent the time playing with the Oshawa Generals and also participated in the 1992 Winter Olympics, winning a Silver Medal with Team Canada.
In 1992, the Nordiques worked out trades for him with both the New York Rangers, and Philadelphia Flyers. Eventually an arbitrator, Larry Bertuzzi (granduncle of Todd Bertuzzi), ruled in favour of the Flyers, for whom Lindros played from 1992 to 2000, most of the time as the team’s captain.
Many consider this trade a key reason that the Colorado Avalanche (the new name of the Nordiques after they relocated before the 1995-96 season), went on to be an NHL powerhouse. They received in the trade the rights to eventual Hart Trophy winner 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. Since the trade, the Avalanche have won eight division titles and two Stanley Cup championships, due in part to the play of Forsberg, and the later addition of Patrick Roy, whom the Avalanche received in a later package deal that included Thibault.
The trade between the Nordiques and the Rangers that was ruled invalid by the arbitrator had Lindros being traded for Doug Weight, Tony Amonte, Alexei Kovalev, John Vanbiesbrouck, three first round draft picks (1993, 1994 & 1995) and $12 million.
With his imposing physical strength and playmaking ability, Lindros established himself as the top player on a Flyers team that had perennially been in contention but always fell short. His time in Philadelphia would see him score points at a phenomenal rate (for much of his first 5 seasons in the NHL, Lindros hovered around 4th all-time in points per game) and become one of the most feared and dominating players in the NHL. In September 1994, Lindros succeeded Kevin Dineen as Flyers captain. Along with John LeClair and Mikael Renberg, he played on the dreaded “Legion of Doom” line. He scored over 40 goals in each of his first two seasons and won the Hart Trophy as MVP in the lockout-shortened season of 1995 by scoring 29 goals and 41 assists in 46 games and leading the Flyers to their first playoff appearance in 6 years.
Lindros led the Flyers to the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals, handily defeating Pittsburgh, Buffalo and the New York Rangers in 5 games apiece. But in the Finals the Flyers were swept in four games by theDetroit Red Wings; Lindros’ only goal came with 14 seconds left in the 3rd period of Game 4. Lindros as a franchise player was expected to carry the team, but he had not lived up to expectations nor had he shown leadership during the Finals series.
In 1998, Lindros, only 25 years old, was ranked number 54 on The Hockey News‘ list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players of all time. The only player of comparable age was No. 37-ranked Jaromir Jagr, who was 26 at the time.
Lindros’ relationship with Flyers general manager Bobby Clarke soon deteriorated. He and Clarke feuded in the media, with Clarke questioning his toughness; Lindros spent many games on the injured reserve and suffered a series of concussions, the first in 1998 from a hit delivered by Pittsburgh’s Darius Kasparaitis that sidelined him for 18 games. Lindros would suffer a 2nd concussion in January 1999 that sidelined him for 2 games. During an April 1, 1999 game against the Nashville Predators, Lindros suffered what was diagnosed as a rib injury. Later that night, the teammate he was sharing a hotel room with, Keith Jones, discovered Lindros lying in a tub, pale and cold. In a call to the Flyers, the trainer was told to put Lindros on a plane that was returning to Philadelphia with injured teammate Mark Recchi. But Jones insisted that Lindros be taken to a nearby hospital and it was discovered Lindros had a collapsed lung caused by internal bleeding of his chest wall. Lindros’ father wrote the Flyers a letter in which he stated that if the trainer had followed team orders, Eric would be dead, a statement supported by the doctors who treated him in Nashville.
The 1999–2000 season would be Lindros’ last as a Flyer. Having suffered his 2nd concussion of the season (4th overall) in March, Lindros criticized the team’s trainers for failing to diagnose a concussion as he played with symptoms following a hit he suffered in a game against Boston 2 weeks prior. Clarke then stripped Lindros of the captaincy for his actions. Lindros sat out the remainder of the regular season and suffered another concussion while rehabilitating for a return to the lineup. Lindros ultimately returned for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals against New Jersey, Lindros scored the lone goal in a 2-1 Flyers loss, and in Game 7 Lindros suffered yet another concussion after a hit by New Jersey defenseman Scott Stevens. The Flyers lost Game 7, 2-1 and the series despite leading 3 games to 1, and Lindros became a restricted free agent during the off-season. He refused to accept a 2-way qualifying offer with a minor league provision from the Flyers, who still owned his rights. After Lindros was cleared to play in December, the Flyers refused to deal his rights to the Toronto Maple Leafs, as he preferred, and Lindros sat out the entire 2000–01 season.
New York Rangers
Flyers GM Bobby Clarke eventually traded Lindros to the New York Rangers on August 20, 2001 for Jan Hlavac, Kim Johnsson, Pavel Brendl, and a 2003 3rd-round draft choice (Stefan Ruzicka). He would play the next three seasons in New York.
In 2001–02, Lindros averaged a little over a point a game with 37 goals and 36 assists for 73 points in 72 games. His impressive start also led to his seventh and final All-Star selection, but due to an injury he was unable to participate and was replaced by teammate Mike York. Though 2002–03 was the first injury-free season of his career, he struggled to match his previous season, only collecting 53 points in 81 games. In 2003–04, Lindros’ eighth concussion limited him to just 39 games, though he did collect 32 points. He again became an unrestricted free agent after the season.
Toronto Maple Leafs
On August 11, 2005, after the NHL labor dispute had cancelled the 2004–05 season, Lindros signed a one-year, $1.55 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs for the 2005–06 NHL season. After a steady start to his tenure with Toronto in which he recorded 22 points in 32 games, Lindros suffered a tear of a ligament in his left wrist against the Dallas Stars on December 10, 2005. After a 27-game absence, Lindros returned to the Toronto lineup on February 28, 2006, against the Washington Capitals. His return was brief, however, as he re-injured his wrist while taking a slapshot in a game against the Ottawa Senators on March 4, 2006, effectively ending his season. He had surgery on the wrist at the Hand and Upper Limb Centre in London, Ontario two days after the game.
Dallas Stars and retirement
Lindros officially announced his retirement on November 8, 2007, in London, Ontario, at the age of 34.
- 4th fastest player in NHL history to score 300 points (210 GP) behind Wayne Gretzky (159), Mario Lemieux (186) & Peter Stastny (186)
- 4th fastest player in NHL history to score 400 points (277 GP) behind Wayne Gretzky (197), Mario Lemieux (240) & Peter Stastny (247)
- 5th fastest player in NHL history to score 500 points (352 GP) behind Wayne Gretzky (234), Mario Lemieux (287) & Peter Stastny (322) & Mike Bossy (349)
- 6th fastest player in NHL history to score 600 points (429 GP) behind Wayne Gretzky (273), Mario Lemieux (323) & Peter Stastny (394), Mike Bossy (400) & Jari Kurri (419)
On the day of his retirement, November 8, 2007, it was also announced that Lindros had donated five million dollars to the London Health Sciences Centre. This donation supports programs such as the Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic, and is one of the largest personal donations by a Canadian sports figure.
On November 11, 2007, three days after his retirement, the NHL Players Association appointed Lindros to the newly created position of NHLPA ombudsman. Lindros had been involved with the organization throughout his career. Lindros cut ties with the NHL Players’ Association on February 3, 2009, resigning as ombudsman after 15 months on the job.
On May 9, 2010, he along with his mother Bonnie, supermodel/actress Monika Schnarre, and a few other Canadian notables will be helping Habitat for Humanity Toronto by recognizing Mother’s Day by building homes. On December 31, 2011, he played in the Winter Classic Alumni Game between the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers.
- June 22, 1991 – Quebec Nordiques draft Lindros with the 1st-overall pick in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft.
- June 30, 1992 – Traded by the Quebec Nordiques to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for Peter Forsberg, Steve Duchesne, Kerry Huffman, Mike Ricci, Ron Hextall, Chris Simon, Philadelphia’s 1993 1st-round draft choice (Jocelyn Thibault), Philadelphia’s 1994 1st-round draft choice (Nolan Baumgartner) and $15,000,000.
- August 20, 2001 – Traded by the Philadelphia Flyers to the New York Rangers in exchange for Jan Hlavac, Kim Johnsson, Pavel Brendl and the Rangers’ 2003 3rd-round draft choice (Stefan Ruzicka).
- August 11, 2005 – Signed as a free agent with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
- July 17, 2006 – Signed as a free agent with the Dallas Stars.
- November 8, 2007 – Officially announced his retirement from the NHL at age 34.
|Jack Ferguson Award||1989|
|Red Tilson Trophy||1991|
|OHL First Team All-Star||1991|
|CHL Player of the Year||1991|
|Memorial Cup All-Star||1991|
|NHL All-Rookie Team||1993|
|Hart Memorial Trophy||1995|
|Lester B. Pearson Award||1995|
|NHL First All-Star Team||1995|
|NHL Second All-Star Team||1996|
|Bobby Clarke Trophy||1994, 1995, 1996, 1999|
|NHL All-Star||1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002|
Regular season and playoffs
|1988–89||St. Michael’s Buzzers||OPJHL||37||24||43||67||193||27||23||25||48||155|
|1988–89||Canadian National Team||—||2||1||0||1||0||—||—||—||—||—|
|1989–90||Detroit Compuware Ambassadors||NAHL||14||23||29||52||123||—||—||—||—||—|
|1989–90||Canadian National Team||—||3||1||0||1||4||—||—||—||—||—|
|1991–92||Canadian National Team||—||24||19||16||35||34||—||—||—||—||—|
|2000–01||Did not play||Contract dispute|
|2001–02||New York Rangers||NHL||72||37||36||73||138||—||—||—||—||—|
|2002–03||New York Rangers||NHL||81||19||34||53||141||—||—||—||—||—|
|2003–04||New York Rangers||NHL||39||10||22||32||60||—||—||—||—||—|
|2005–06||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||33||11||11||22||43||—||—||—||—||—|
|Junior int’l totals||29||17||25||42||37|
|Senior int’l totals||36||20||14||34||38|
|1994||Madison Square Garden||1||0||1|
|1997||San Jose Arena||0||2||2|
|1998||General Motors Place||1||0||1|
|2000||Air Canada Centre||0||0||0|
|Olympic medal record|
|Men’s ice hockey|
|Gold||2002 Salt Lake City||Ice hockey|
|Silver||1992 Albertville||Ice hockey|
Played for Canada in:
- 1990 World Junior Championships (gold medal)
- 1991 World Junior Championships (gold medal)
- 1991 Canada Cup (championship)
- 1992 World Junior Championships
- 1992 Winter Olympics (silver medal)
- 1993 World Championships
- 1996 World Cup of Hockey
- 1998 Winter Olympics
- 2002 Winter Olympics (gold medal)
- “Right now my focus is the ‘PA work, I’m not really concerned about the rest of it. But the last couple of years have been pretty frustrating in terms of not getting through without being injury-free. It’s just frustrating.”
- “My decision to retire from professional hockey is something that I have been considering for some time and did not come easily. I will miss the day-to-day activity of being a member of a team and the camaraderie that I developed with my teammates will never be forgotten. I played with the best, I played against the best — it was a blast. It really truly was. I enjoyed myself immensely.”
- “He had it all: size, strength and finesse, It is unfortunate injuries cut his time in the NHL short, but he had a great career and left his mark on the game.” —John LeClair.
- “Yes, based on his ability to play the game and based on his contributions as a player, I think you have to separate all the crap that went on. Particularly when he played for the Flyers, it was just outstanding, dominant hockey — the first of the huge, big men with small man’s skill.” —Bobby Clarke, on whether Lindros should be in the Hockey Hall of Fame.