Big, bruising center Eric Lindros had a 13-year NHL career that promised huge things before a relentless wave of injuries derailed his considerable talent. His accomplishments -- 372 goals, 865 points, the 1995 Hart and Lester Pearson MVP trophies -- speak of what was, as well was what might have been.
2 of 15Bill Ballenberg/SI
Eric was born in London, Ontario, to Carl and Bonnie Lindros, who stage-managed his career to much controversy, the first of which was refusing to let him join the OHL's Sault St. Marie Greyhounds after they drafted him in 1989. A sensation in Canada by age 15, Lindros led the OHL's Oshawa Generals to the 1990 Memorial Cup and scored 71 goals and 149 points in 57 games for them the following season.
3 of 15Robert Laberge/Getty Images
Expected to be the NHL's next superstar, hence his billing as The Next One, Lindros was drafted first overall by Quebec in 1991. He refused to play for the struggling Nordiques and, seeking a bigger stage, forced a 1992 blockbuster trade to Philadelphia for Peter Forsberg and five others, plus picks and cash. The 6-4, 235-pound Lindros made an immediate impact with the Flyers, scoring 41 goals and ushering in the age of the power forward.
4 of 15Lou Capozzola/SI
Lindros scored 40 or more goals three times in his first four seasons while skating on the Flyers' potent Legion of Doom Line with wingers John LeClair and Mikael Renberg.
5 of 15AP
During the lockout-abbreviated 1994-95 season Lindros was named the Flyers' captain and shared the NHL scoring lead with 29 goals and 70 points in 46 games, winning Hart and Pearson MVP honors. The next season, at the peak of his powers, he hit his career high of 115 points.
6 of 15Lou Capozzola/SI
In 1996-97 Lindros powered Philly to the Stanley Cup Finals against Detroit. Though he led the NHL in postseason scoring with 12 goals and 26 points in 19 games, the Flyers could not stave off a sweep by the Red Wings.
7 of 15AP
With an impressive international resume that included two World Junior championships, the 1991 Canada Cup title and a 1992 Olympic silver medal, Lindros was named captain of Team Canada for the `98 Winter Games. Alas, he came home empty-handed after losing the bronze medal game to Finland.
8 of 15AP
Injuries began to take their toll in 1996-97 when Lindros missed the first 23 games with a groin injury. Concussions were his biggest nemesis. Especially vulnerable due to his habit of skating with his head down, Lindros suffered eight of them during his career, including six in a span of two years.
9 of 15Chuck Solomon/SI
Lindros's younger brother Brett, a first-round draft pick by the New York Islanders in 1994, had his NHL career cut short by concussions in 1996. He was only 20 years old.
10 of 15AP
A vicious shoulder to the jaw by Scott Stevens in the 2000 Eastern Conference finals spelled the end of Lindros's eight seasons with the Flyers. He sat out the 2000-01 season while he recuperated, his relationship with Flyers' GM Bob Clarke souring as he questioned the quality of care the team was providing. Clarke flatly refused Lindros's demand to be traded to Toronto.
11 of 15AP
In August 2001, the Flyers finally sent Lindros to the Rangers, where he was united with his boyhood idol, Mark Messier. He scored 37 goals during his first season on Broadway and missed only one game the following season. A shoulder injury and concussion during his third campaign, as well as the team's failure to make the playoffs during his tenure, led the Rangers to decline his option.
12 of 15Robert Laberge/Getty Images
One of the bright spots of a tough stretch came in 2002 when Lindros won the gold medal while playing for Team Canada at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid.
13 of 15Lou Capozzola/SI
After signing with the Toronto Maple Leafs in August 2005, Lindros was plagued by a wrist injury, scoring 22 points in 32 games.
14 of 15Robert Beck/SI
Signed by the Dallas Stars in 2006, Lindros spent his final NHL season battling a groin injury and hoping for a revival of his fading skills. He scored five goals and 26 points in 49 games, making his first, and final, postseason appearance since the Stevens hit.
15 of 15AP
Lindros officially announced his retirement on Nov. 8, 2007 and began a new career with the NHL Players Association, for whom he was appointed ombudsman. He was one of the five players who spearheaded the search committee for a new executive director (Paul Kelly) before stepping down in February 2009.
You May Like
Sign Up for our Newsletter
Don't get stuck on the sidelines! Sign up to get exclusives, daily highlights, analysis and more—delivered right to your inbox!