It took too long. Years too long. But finally, the most dominant player of his era can now say that he's a Hockey Hall of Famer. The Hall of Fame announced on Monday afternoon that Eric Lindros is a member of their 2016 class.
He'll be officially inducted into the Hall in a November ceremony in Toronto. Joining Lindros in the Hall this year are former Flyers coach Pat Quinn in the builders category and players Rogie Vachon and Sergei Makarov. Mark Recchi, another long-time Flyer, was not inducted this year.
Quinn got his start as an NHL coach in Philadelphia, where he took the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Finals in his first full season as head coach, 1979-80. Quinn won the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year that year and was behind the bench for the famed 35-game unbeaten streak as well. He went on to coach the Kings, Canucks, Maple Leafs, Oilers and Team Canada before passing away in 2012.
Lindros will go into to the Hall as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers, the team where he grew from a hyped 1st overall draft pick to the most dominant force in the sport throughout the 1990s. From 1992 through 2000, Lindros played 486 regular season games for the Flyers, scoring 290 goals and 369 assists over that period. He was a six-time All-Star and he won the 1994-95 Hart Trophy as the league's MVP.
When it comes to the all-time leaders in points per game, Lindros is 19th all-time. And if injury hadn't stolen his greatness in the latter years of his career, his rank would be even more impressive. Remove the years following the infamous Scott Stevens hit in 2000 and Lindros would rank sixth all-time in points per game. The only players ranked higher than him are be Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Mike Bossy, Sidney Crosby and Bobby Orr.
Look closer at how he compared to his peers throughout his prime and his career is even more impressive. In 1993-94, Lindros was third in the NHL with 1.52 points per game. He was first in the league 1994-95, third in 95-96, second in 96-97, sixth in 97-98 and fourth in 98-99.
There was more to Lindros than just pure skill, however, and there has never been a physical specimen quite like him. Take the scoring and skating skill he exhibited throughout the prime of his career and couple it with his size and you have one of the scariest players to ever play the game. Lindros could score with the best of them and he could also bury you with a huge hit unlike any other player in his era. And if you wanted to fight, he'd gladly drop the gloves and knock the crap out of you too.
This clip from 1997 sums of Lindros at his best:
The only remaining question regarding Lindros' greatness? Whether or not the Flyers will retire his No. 88. Aside from Barry Ashbee's No. 4, the Flyers have reserved the honor of number retirement only to players who have been inducted in the Hall, with Mark Howe's No. 2 being retired shortly after he was inducted to the Hall in 2012.
Now that Lindros is a Hall of Famer as well, we expect 88 to hang from the rafters forever.