The 2012 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees have been announced, and once again Eric Lindros is not on the list.
Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin, Adam Oates and Pavel Bure all got the call to the Hall this year and will be officially inducted on November 22nd.
Like Oates and Bure, this was not Lindros’ first year of eligibility. He first became eligible in 2010 and was not voted into the Hall for the third straight year.
Does he deserve to be in the Hall? Well that depends on who you ask.
Lindros' on ice achievements are often overshadowed by his off-ice issues. After the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds drafted Lindros, he refused to sign with the team. A trend that would continue in 1991 when he refused to play for the Quebec Nordiques after they drafted him first overall in the NHL entry draft.
Lindros was traded to the Flyers in exchange for Peter Forsberg, Ron Hextall, Chris Simon, Mike Ricci, Kerry Huffman, Steve Duchesne and first-round picks in 1993 and 1994.
It’s clear which team won that trade.
With that being said, while character is a factor, we must not forget his on-ice performance when considering him for the Hall.
Although his career was shortened by multiple concussions, Lindros was a dominant force in the NHL for a number of years.
Standing 6'4" and tipping the scales at over 225 pounds, Lindros possessed a great mix of skill and size. He was a good skater, had great hands and could run just about anyone over with a solid, clean hit.
Lindros won the Hart and Lester B. Pearson awards in the 1995 lockout shortened season, scoring 29 goals and 41 assists for 70 points in 46 games.
He followed up that performance with 47 goals and 68 assists for 115 points in 73 games in the 1996 season.
Although he would never again reach the 100-point mark, Lindros retired with great career stats. In 760 NHL games Lindros scored 372 goals and 493 assists, for 865 points. Those totals are similar to one of this year’s inductees, Pavel Bure, whose career was also shortened because of injuries.
Lindros never won a Stanley Cup, but he did make the finals in 1997 with the Flyers, only to be swept by the Detroit Red Wings. Lindros was an NHL All-Star seven times and a first-team All-Star in the shortened 1995 season. Lindros had success with Team Canada, winning two World Junior Championships, a Canada Cup and an Olympic gold medal.
Considering his performance, achievements and statistics, there is certainly an argument to be made for Lindros’ place in the Hall.
He is currently the only eligible player to have won a Hart Trophy since the mid-70’s and not be inducted. He is also one of only two eligible players, (the other being Kent Nilsson) who ranks in the top 30 in career points per game average and is not inducted.
So why hasn’t Lindros been voted in yet?
First off, only four players can be inducted each year and the last couple years have been very competitive. NHL greats like Ed Belfour, Doug Gilmour, Joe Nieuwendyk and Joe Sakic have all been inducted and deservingly so.
It's also possible that Lindros’ character, sportsmanship or short career are factors affecting the voters.
With players such as Joe Mullen, Clark Gillies, Cam Neely and Glen Anderson in the Hall of Fame, maybe it’s just a matter of time before Lindros gets the call. Look no further than one of this year’s inductees, Pavel Bure, for an example of a great player who’s been waiting a while.
Despite being one of the NHL’s most prolific goalscorers, Bure waited six years before finally getting the call. Remember, it’s only been three years now for Lindros.
With that being said, it will probably be at least another year before Lindros gets the nod. Players eligible for induction next year include Brendan Shanahan, Chris Chelios, Scott Niedermayer, Rob Blake, Rob Brind’Amour, Paul Kariya, Owen Nolan and Keith Tkachuk.