Eric Lindros, Tony Amonte and How a Trade That Never Happened Impacted the Blackhawks

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Tony Amonte Chicago Blackhawks

Eric Lindros, Tony Amonte and How a Trade That Never Happened Impacted the Blackhawks

Chicago Blackhawks

Kevin Kurz wrote a fascinating story at The Athletic on Friday detailing the infamous trade(s) that ultimately landed Eric Lindros in Philadelphia. If you’ve followed us this summer with out Trade Tree Friday series, you know we love a good transaction rabbit hole.

And this is an all-timer.

If you’re too young to remember or need a refresher on the Lindros debacle, he was drafted first overall by the Quebec Nordiques in 1991. Lindros wanted nothing to do with Quebec, and refused to sign. For those old enough to remember or who have watched one of my favorite “30 for 30” films on ESPN, “Elway to Marino,” Lindros was effectively doing to the Nordiques what John Elway did to the Baltimore Colts in 1983 (without the baseball backup plan).

Fast forward to the 1992 NHL Draft, and the bidding war for Lindros was on. Much like the teams lining up for a shot at Elway (the highest rated quarterback prospect many front offices had ever seen), the NHL was all over Lindros. He was billed as the next Wayne Gretzky but with a bigger body and more nasty.

Two teams were fighting for the deal to get done at the end of the day: the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers. And, infamously, the Nordiques traded Lindros to… both.

Yes, both teams. It took an arbitrator to award the deal to the Flyers, whose package was historic. Philly gave up six players — including future Hall of Famer Peter Forsberg — with two first-round picks at $15 million.

Much like “Elway to Marino,” which told the story of two all-time great quarterbacks with vastly different draft journeys through the lens of their shared agent — Marvin Demoff — and his detailed notes, the piece written by Kurz was born in the discovery of a file folder in the archives in Philly that included hand-written notes from Jay Snider.

Jay Snider is the son of the late owner of the Flyers, Ed Snider, and he was serving as the team’s president at the time of the trade. The folder included amazing notes with details about the negotiations and subsequent mess with two trades being agreed to by Quebec.

That’s all great. But why do we care about the Lindros trade as Blackhawks fans?

It was a follow-up tweet from Kurz that caught my eye.

If you read the two pages, the Rangers agreed to send their first-round picks in 1993, 1994 and 1996 and four players to Quebec. The dollar amount the Rangers would send wasn’t in the paperwork shared by Kurz.

As Kurz says in the tweet, the Rangers don’t win the Stanley Cup in 1994 if they make this trade.

And a big part of that is because of one of the four players who would have gone to Quebec… who ultimately came to Chicago.

The Rangers did ultimately trade Tony Amonte — to the Blackhawks at the deadline in 1994. Chicago sent Brian Noonan and Stephane Matteau to the Rangers for Amonte and Matt Oates. Matteau would go on to score one of the iconic goals in NHL history (that was accompanied by one of the iconic calls of a goal in any sport).

Amonte spent nine years in Chicago and was a fan favorite. But he likely never would have landed in Chicago if Eric Lindros had been awarded to the New York Rangers instead of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Author: Tab Bamford

Tab is the Lead Blackhawks voice for BN. He is the author of two books about the Blackhawks, most recently "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter at @The1Tab