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Choose your own adventure: Chapter 2

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It’s a crucial turning point in hockey history

Coplorado Avalanche v Boston Bruins Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

Previous chapters

Chapter 1


Welcome back to the Flyers Choose your Own Adventure!

The results of last week’s introduction are in, and by a very slim margin, you collectively chose door number 3. It was only a 20 vote difference between all of the options, so it is interesting to see such a split!

Well, as a result of your decision, the Nordiques decided against trading Eric Lindros to either the Flyers or Rangers. Out of all of the options, this one creates the most diversions in the NHL timeline, so I will run through the ramifications of this move, both small and large.

The first and most obvious result is that Eric Lindros remains under control of the Nordiques. They would have re-opened negotiations with Lindros, though I personally doubt that those negotiations would have been fruitful. Years later, in an interview, Lindros stated that the reason he did not want to play in Quebec was because of their owner Marcel Aubut. This decision is well founded, as Aubut would later sell the Nordiques to an American group who would move them to Colorado. Additionally, Aubut was forced to resign from the Canadian Olympic Committee, where he was a member since 2000, over harassment claims. Probably not a very good person.

For this reason, Lindros still does not sign with the Nordiques. Instead, Lindros sits out the 1992-93 season as well and plays for Oshawa, his junior team, for one more year. Lindros decides to do so since he knows he will be eligible to re-enter the NHL draft, since the rules state he can do so if he is age 20 or younger. Lindros will not yet have turned 21, so he is eligible.

Now, there are a host of very good players who were taken in the 1993 draft. Among them are Chris Pronger, Paul Kariya, Saku Koivu, and Viktor Kozlov, all taken in the first round. There were highly touted prospects at this draft, such as Alexandre Daigle, who never fully lived up to his #1 overall pick status. However, the whole nature of this draft changes with Lindros. He unilaterally becomes the consensus #1 overall choice. Why wouldn’t he be? He was incredibly anticipated, and this wouldn’t have changed at all by 1993.

We will return to the 1993 draft later, but first, let’s look at both the Flyers and the Rangers. For New York, nothing really changes. They don’t give up anybody they would have to get Lindros, and they still finish poorly in 1992-93. However, they are better than one club in their division that year, the Flyers. In real life, even with Lindros, the Flyers missed the playoffs, finishing 9th in the Eastern Conference. However, without Lindros, they likely won’t be better than the Messier led Rangers. There is no Crazy Eight’s line, and instead of Lindros, Rod Brind’Amour is your 1C. This doesn’t tank the club, as they still have some good players. Though, they finish bottom of the Patrick Division in 1992-93 and 10th in the East, above both Hartford and Ottawa. Sure they would have kept Ron Hextall, but he didn’t do that better of a job than Tommy Soderstrom that year anyway, so I think the Rangers just finish above them (also remembering goalies were awful back then).

So now we are back at the 1993 draft. Though the Flyers and Rangers swap places, the top three are still the same. Before, I laid out that Lindros would go #1 overall, which in this case, means that he is picked by the Ottawa Senators. Yay. He joins a club led by Alexei Yashin to another poor finish, and misses the playoffs. In real life, the Sens picked Daigle, and even with him would only win 16 games so I can’t imagine they would suddenly be good even with Lindros.

The Flyers pick at #8 in this draft since they finished worse than the Rangers and never traded the pick to Quebec. If we slide all the picks over to accommodate for Lindros, the Flyers end up with Jason Arnott. The Rangers end up with Todd Harvey, better known as “who?”. Yep, he did nothing. At least the Flyers get a pretty decent power forward in Arnott. In real life, Arnott joined the Oilers immediately after, so Arnott is a Flyer for 1993-94. Guess who will also be a Flyer the very next year? Peter Forsberg.

The Nordiques, not having acquired some of their key cup winning pieces as the Avalanche from the Flyers, still move to Denver but don’t perform nearly as well. They won’t win the cup in 1996.

So essentially now what we are left with is this:

The Flyers have a ton of young exciting prospects who will fully join the team in the mid 90’s.

The Rangers are the same and will win the cup in 1994 because of course they will.

The Nordiques move to Denver and still are bad.

Let’s for argument’s sake say the year is 1995, and the season is just set to begin. The Rangers won the Cup in 1994, and the Devils win in 1995 as happened in real life.

As they bring up their young players, the Flyers aren’t as competitive in 1993-94 and 1994-95. They finish above Florida in 1993-94 to claim 5th place in the newly created Atlantic Division and in 1994-95, make the playoffs but as the 5 seed, swapping with the Devils. They lose to Boston in round one of the 1995 playoffs, but they are a team on the rise. In the 1994 and 1995 drafts, their selections are swapped to match their standing. In 1994, they pick at 11 in between the Islanders and Quebec, and select Jeff Friesen. In 1995, they swap places with the Devils and pick at 18 to take Petr Sykora.

So at the start of the 1995-96 season, the Flyers look like this (Chris Simon and Steve Duchesne are objectively better than Brent Fedyk and Kjell Samuelsson so they make the lineup since they weren’t traded from the Flyers):

Forwards

LW C RW
LW C RW
John Leclair ‘C’ Peter Forsberg ‘A’ Rod Brind’Amour
Jeff Friesen Jason Arnott Mikael Renberg
Shjon Podein Joel Otto Petr Sykora
Chris Simon Craig MacTavish Pat Faloon

Defense

LD RD
LD RD
Eric Desjardins ‘A’ Petr Svoboda
Steve Duchesne Chris Therrien
Kevin Haller Karl Dykhuis

Ron Hextall and Garth Snow are the goalies.

Here is where we reach the next turning point in our story. Now, in real life, Peter Forsberg would score 116 points and absolutely toast the league. However, do you think that his stellar season alone is enough to propel the Flyers to glory? Remember, the Avs had Forsberg and Joe Sakic. Do the Flyers need any more upgrades? Remember that they can only trade for guys who were actually traded in 1995-96.

Door 1: Trade for a forward

Door 2: Trade for a defenseman

Door 3: Trade for a goalie

Door 4: Trade for a pick

Vote below or comment your choice! The poll will close in 5 days:

Poll

Chapter Two: Should the Flyers trade for...

This poll is closed

  • 41%
    a Forward
    (181 votes)
  • 36%
    a Defenseman
    (160 votes)
  • 17%
    a Goalie
    (76 votes)
  • 4%
    a Pick
    (20 votes)
437 votes total Vote Now