Today is the start of a very unusual and quite experimental series I want to start. When I was growing up, I was a huge fan of “choose your own adventure” books, particularly the series by Patrick Burston (I particularly remember ‘The Fairground of Dread’). So, inspired by these books, I wanted to try and craft one of my own, particularly around the Flyers and events in their history. We’ve all wondered what would have happened had the Flyers done or not done moves differently, and this series will be a thought experiment in this regard. For housekeeping, decisions will be made by a simple majority vote at the end of each segment of this story, and what happens will be determined by you the readers! Obviously, since some of these scenarios will be hypothetical, I am going to try and take into account real world results mixed with historical conjecture when writing theoretical scenarios. Got it? Okay! Let’s go:
To start, I wanted to take a look at one of the most divisive and pivotal moments in Flyers history. The year is 1991, and the hockey world and its media is focused on the consensus expected #1 overall pick, center Eric Lindros. At 6’4”, 240 lbs, he is the “Next One”, expected to take up Gretzky’s mantle. As we all know, he is drafted by the Nordiques, sits out a year in refusal to suit up for the club, and is traded to the Flyers. However, as we would later find out, there was a competing possibility.
Both the Flyers and the New York Rangers had trades assembled for Lindros at the 1992 draft. In the end, as both clubs believed they deserved the rights to Lindros, an independent arbitrator was called upon and ruled with the Flyers, as it was determined they reached a deal first. In the end, the Flyers sent Steve Duchesne, Ron Hextall, Kerry Huffman, Mike Ricci, Chris Simon, the rights to Peter Forsberg, a first-round pick in 1993 and 1994, as well as $15 million. Had the Rangers been the ones to acquire Lindros, the Nordiques would have received Tony Amonte, Alexei Kovalev, John Vanbiesbrouck, Doug Weight, three first-round picks (in 1993, 1994 and 1996) and $12 million.
So here is the first branching pathway, ala Bandersnatch. Which path will you choose? Please vote in the poll at the end of the article to decide your fate! The poll ends on the 8th of August (9 AM EST).
Door 1: The Flyers acquire Lindros
The Flyers’ trade goes through as it did historically, leaving #88 with the Orange and Black. He enters an organization re-tooling itself, and immediately becomes the impact player that Flyers fans were hoping for.
Door 2: The Rangers acquire Lindros
#88 heads to New York to join Mark Messier and Brian Leetch. After 1991-92, the Rangers were on the rise, having won the Patrick Division and having made it all the way to the division finals (they lost to the eventual champion Penguins). In 1992-93, they finished 34–39–11 and missed the playoffs, but with Lindros does this change?
Door 3: The Nordiques keep Lindros
Hoping to convince him to play in Quebec, the Nordiques do not trade Lindros at the 1992 draft. As we know, the Nordiques didn’t have that much time left in Canada, but does that change if they can convince Lindros to lace up his skates?
Which door do you choose?
This poll is closed
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