Long-Suffering Nordiques Fans Had To Wait Even Longer To Find Out Who Was Coming

Published on June 19th, 2022 12:34 pm EST
Written By: Dave Manuel

The Eric Lindros bizarre double trade.  One of NHLs strangest. The Eric Lindros trade was one of the most intriguing and bizarre situations in the history of the NHL.

After a long, drawn-out process, the Quebec Nordiques somehow ended up "trading" Lindros to two different teams - the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers.


Let's start with the back story.

First - Eric Lindros was really, really good, and the Quebec Nordiques were really, really bad.

Lindros dominated with the Oshawa Generals of the OHL, and some people were touting him as the next Gretzky or Lemieux.

The Quebec Nordiques were terrible in the early '90s, and the franchise had trouble getting players to play with the team.

The Nordiques managed to "earn" the #1 overall pick in the 1991 NHL Draft, and they obviously took Eric Lindros.

Lindros, however, refused to play with the Nordiques, and he famously declined to put on the Nordiques jersey on draft day, instead choosing to hold the jersey in his hand instead.


Lindros stuck to his guns - I'm not playing for Quebec, and I want to be traded. Lindros would later state that he had an issue with the management of the Nordiques, and not with Quebec City itself.

Lindros would hold out for the entirety of the 1991 regular season, putting pressure on the Nordiques to get SOMETHING for the potential generational superstar. Lindros would return to Oshawa for a season, and he also played in the 1992 Winter Olympics. There are reports that Lindros asked for an exorbitant contract that he knew that the Nordiques wouldn't be able to afford, though the Nordiques claimed that nothing was ever asked for or offered.


In June of 1992, the Nordiques said that they had reached an impasse with Lindros and that they would look to be trade the #1 pick.

A number of teams expressed interest, including the Red Wings, Maple Leafs and New Jersey Devils.


On June 20th, 1992, Eric Lindros was finally traded.

The problem? He was traded to two teams - the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers.

Here is how it went down.

The Nordiques verbally agreed to trade Lindros to the Philadelphia Flyers, contingent upon Lindros agreeing to play there.

Nothing was written down or submitted to the league office.

Less than 90 minutes after verbally agreeing to the deal with the Flyers, Quebec Nordiques President Marcel Aubut decided that he would take a second deal instead - this one with the New York Rangers. Aubut and the Rangers would verbally agree to a deal.

But wait! The Flyers said that they had a valid agreement and that their verbal agreement with the Nordiques was binding.

After all of that, Nordiques fans would have to wait even longer as the entire situation was pushed into arbitration.


Here is what the two deals looked like:

Philadelphia Deal

Eric Lindros for:

Mike Ricci
Rod Brind'Amour
Mark Recchi
Steve Duchesne
Ron Hextall
Dominic Roussel
Multiple First Round Picks
$15 Million

New York Deal

Eric Lindros for:

Sergei Nemchinov
Tony Amonte
Alexei Kovalev
James Patrick
John Vanbiesbrouck or Mike Richter
Multiple First-Round Picks
$20 Million


There was a five-day arbitration hearing, and it was eventually determined that the deal with the Flyers was enforceable.

The arbitrator, Larry Bertuzzi, stated that Philadephia's phone call to Lindros to determine whether or not he wanted to play for the team was "critical" and that the deal was valid as soon as that happened.


The final deal had to be reworked, as there was a pick in the 1992 NHL Draft included in the deal that couldn't be included, as the deal wasn't finalized at the time.

In the end, the Nordiques ended up getting Lindros for Ron Hextall, Steve Duchesne, Mike Ricci, Kerry Huffman, Peter Forsberg, a first-round pick in the 1993 NHL Draft, $15 million, Chris Simon, a pick in the 1994 NHL Draft and future considerations for Eric Lindros.

The Rangers accepted the arbitrator's decision, and the NHL elected not to seek to punish the Nordiques.


The Nordiques would eventually move to Colorado, and the pieces from the Lindros trade would result in the Avalanche winning multiple Stanley Cups.

Peter Forsberg was obviously instrumental in the Avalanche's success, though trades involving the likes of Ron Hextall and the 1994 draft pick would ultimately result in the likes of Patrick Roy and Rob Blake arriving with the club.

Eric Lindros, on the other hand, was fantastic while he was healthy, though his career would ultimately be derailed by injuries.

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