After a seven year wait, Eric Lindros is headed to the Hockey Hall of Fame, but his wait pales in comparison to one of his fellow inductees.
At last, Eric Lindros is a Hall of Famer.
‘The Big E’, the bruising power forward who, when healthy, dominated the game for periods in the 1990s with the Philadelphia Flyers, was officially elected as part of the 2016 Hockey Hall of Fame class announced on Monday.
This was Lindros’ seventh year of eligibility, and he had seen 19 other players elected during that time before he finally got the call. But with a weak class of first-year eligible players, there was no denying Lindros a spot this time around.
During his prime, between the 1992-93 and 2001-02 seasons, Lindros had 732 points in 558 games — a points per game average of 1.31, which was second only to Jaromir Jagr’s 1.42 (among players with at least 300 games played), and ahead of Hall of Famers like Joe Sakic, Pavel Bure, and Steve Yzerman.
Lindros’ combination of elite skill and size and toughness made him a dominant force, and made just about every team in the league try to find similar players to emulate his style.
Lindros won the Hart Trophy and Lester B. Pearson Award in 1994-95 and was a seven-time all-star.
Of course, all those accolades come with the caveat “when healthy.” Lindros battled injuries throughout his career, most notably concussion problems. He never once played all 82 games in a season, and during those prime years, he averaged just 64 games per year (excluding the lockout-shortened season in 1994-95).
Joining Lindros in the 2016 class are players Sergei Makarov, and Rogie Vachon, and former coach and GM Pat Quinn in the builder’s category.
Makarov was a star right winger in the Soviet Union in the late 1970s and 1980s. He won two Olympic gold medals and eight world championship titles. He came to the NHL in 1989 as part of the first wave of Russian players. He joined the Calgary Flames and won the Calder Trophy as a 31-year-old rookie after putting up 86 points in 80 games. He went on to play in over 400 NHL games as a member of the Flames, Sharks, and Stars.
Lindros has got nothing on Vachon, who waited 31 years to get the call to the Hall. The goalie won three Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens before being traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 1971. He retired after the 1982 season and his No. 30 was the first jersey number ever retired by the Kings.
Quinn played in over 600 NHL games but made his real mark as a coach and GM. He got his start with the Flyers and coached in 1,400 career games with the Flyers, Kings, Canucks, Maple Leafs, and Oilers. He is seventh on the all-time wins list with 684. Quinn passed away in November 2014.
The 2016 class will be inducted at a ceremony in Toronto on November 14, 2016.
Some notable players who continue to wait include Mark Recchi, Dave Andreychuk, Alex Mogilny, and Curtis Joseph.