PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 18: NHL Hall of Famer and former Philadelphia Flyer Eric Lindros acknowledges the crowd during his Jersey Retirement Night ceremony before the Toronto Maple Leafs play the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on January 18, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

What if stories. There are countless what if scenarios out there. What if the Red sox had never traded Babe Ruth to the Yankees? What if Wayne Gretzky wasn’t traded to the L.A. Kings? What if Michael Jordan hadn’t taken that 2 year retirement period to play baseball?

There are so many it’s not even funny. But today i’m going to talk about one of the greatest what if scenarios in hockey history.

What if Eric Lindros was actually signed by the Quebec Nordiques?

Now for those of you that don’t know about this giant can of worms, allow me to break it down into bite sized chunks for you. Eric Lindros was quite simply a transcendent talent that had nothing but gobs of potential. He was the kind of player that causes Gm’s and Coaches to need new bed sheets. He was a hulking power forward that could move deceptively quickly and had hands softer than melted butter. At 6’4 and weighing in at 240 pounds, he was an imposing physical presence on any team. The 1991 draft was essentially his draft. It was clear he was going first overall that year and that pick belonged to the Quebec Nordiques, a team in the midst of a massive rebuild. But had a promising top line center in one Joe Sakic, perhaps you’ve heard of him.

Lindros famously refused to sign with the team, and through a complicated trade with the Flyers and Rangers (The package Quebec got back included one Peter Forsberg, i’m not totally sure what happened to him though, he had a lot of talent though.) He was sold to the Philadelphia Flyers, and would be a big part of their future for the next while. Including a Hart Trophy, a Calder Trophy, and leading the team to the 97 finals. He also was the centerpiece of one of the scariest lines in hockey, the Legion of Doom.

But what if they managed to sign him?

What if The Big E played for the team that drafted him?

Well let’s start by listing some of the possibilities.

  1. No legion of doom line, sorry flyers fans there’s no trades to make that line without him.
  2. The Nordiques/Avalanche (they would have still moved more than likely) would’ve had one of the deadliest top 9 forwards in the league, Sakic, Lindros, and had another what if occurred, Mats Sundin would’ve centered their 3rd line or been on the wing for Sakic or Lindros.
  3. Peter Forsberg plays for the flyers, had they had him they might, i stress MIGHT have beaten the Wings in 97. The team wouldn’t have been as top heavy and built up depth. He probably would’ve played for the avalanche at one point but he would’ve been a Flyer primarily. And even better, had the Flyers had some enforcers He might have been able to play without being injured so often.
  4. Maybe Lindros’ concussion problems don’t happen. Because if he’s on a team that moves into the western conference he doesn’t play Scott Stevens on a regular basis therefore avoiding that hit. You know the one from the playoffs in 2000. Go look it up.

Well, there’s no telling what would’ve happened had he played for the Nordiques. But that’s just my guess, who knows?

Got any other theories? Feel free to take it up with me on Twitter.

@nero_alucard. If you enjoy this content feel free to tweet @LWOsports with ideas and suggestions.

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