As tumultuous as Eric Lindros's playing days in Philadelphia may have been, the days leading up to his departure might've been even worse. Knocked out of commission in game seven of the 2000 Eastern Conference Finals against the New Jersey Devils, the Flyers lost the series and Lindros never played another game in the Orange and Black. But with Lindros refusing a qualifying offer and the Flyers refusing to trade him to his preferred destination of Toronto, the two sides reached a year-long standstill, Lindros sitting out the entire '00-'01 season. Then finally, on August 20th, 2001, a resolution was reached--Lindros was shipped to the New York Rangers, in return for Jan Hlavac, Kim Johnsson, Pavel Brendl and a third-round '03 draft pick.
GM Bobby Clarke was in no mood to wax sentimental about the departure of the Flyers' one-time savior-to-be. ""He hurt this organization," claimed Clarke. "I could care less about him." Lindros was mainly concerned with staying concussion-free, after his final years in Philly were marred with such recurring problems. "I've been seen by every doctor possible," said Lindros. Every
‘i' has been dotted and every ‘t' crossed. I've been symptom-free for 15, 16
months now, and that lends itself to a comeback."
Lindros's comeback with the Rangers, however, was far from triumphant. Though he was effective in his first season in New York, leading the team with 73 points, he was unable to guide the club to the playoffs--which, indeed, Lindros would not reach again until he got spare post-season minutes in his final season with the Dallas Stars. Meanwhile, while the Flyers certainly got back less than the package they gave up to get Lindros in '92, they did get some return in the deal--Johnsson was an effective defenceman for a couple of playoff teams, and Clarke turned Hlavac into renowned bruiser Donald Brashear in a deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Ultimately, it was a bittersweet ending to one of the more bittersweet eras in Philly sports.