Quantity and quality
We may never see the likes of it again.
The July 21, 1992 trade that sent Eric Lindros from the Quebec Nordiques to the Philadelphia Flyers had enough plot twists and intrigue to make it a bestselling whodunit.
Right from the get-go, this reeked of controversy as both the Flyers and New York Rangers argued they had made valid deals for the big center, a junior phenom who brought a dizzying array of size, strength and talent to the table. Lindros didn't want to play for the Nordiques and had said so early and often. Drafted by that team in the first round of the 1991 NHL Entry Draft, he and the franchise played a waiting game until the trade -- or trades -- were announced almost a year later. It took an NHL arbitrator several days to sort all of this out before ruling the Flyers had made the deal that counted.
And in the interim, enough trees have been sacrificed to chronicle Lindros' controversial tenure in Philadelphia to fill a small forest. But often overlooked is the package of players and draft picks that went north to the Nordiques.
The players received from Philadelphia formed a prodigious group that has either become a core part of the franchise success after it moved to Colorado to become the Avalanche or were spun off to bring in players who have helped the Avs become a top team for years.
Here's what the Nordiques acquired for Lindros.
Centers Peter Forsberg and Mike Ricci, defensemen Steve Duchesne and Kerry Huffman, goalie Ron Hextall, a 1993 first-round draft pick that became goalie Jocelyn Thibault, future considerations that became winger Chris Simon and a 1994 first rounder, plus $15,000,000 in cash.
And here's a look at what became of this group.
Forsberg, of course, went on to become arguably the best player in the world. He has been a part of Colorado's two Stanley Cup teams and is regarded as one of the most skilled and tenacious players in the NHL. About the only thing that has held Forsberg back has been injuries. He has missed more than 100 games to injury through the years, skipping the entire 2001-02 regular season to recover from the loss of his spleen and ankle woes.
Forsberg still has averaged more than a point-per-game in his career -- both in the regular season and Stanley Cup Playoffs -- and is a winner, plain and simple. There are few who compete as tenaciously as Forsberg and you could make the argument that an even-up swap of Lindros for Forsberg back in 1991 would have sparked years of debate over the merits of both players. But at the time of the deal, Forsberg was an unknown quantity in North America and former Flyers GM Russ Farwell was raked over the coals for using the team's top pick in the 1991 Entry Draft on an untested European player.
Ricci was selected fourth overall by the Flyers in the 1990 Entry Draft and was viewed by many as the franchise's next Bobby Clarke. Ricci was considered a strong leader during his junior days and has done nothing to diminish that view during a distinguished NHL career.
Ricci had his two best offensive seasons with the Nords, scoring 27 goals in 1992-93 and 30 goals in 1993-94. Following the team's move to Colorado for the 1995-96 season, Ricci became more of a defensive-minded center.