Eric Lindros, at one time, was the face of the Flyers’ franchise. Unfortunately, health issues in addition to an ugly dispute with GM Bob Clarke led to a big trade in August, 2001, shipping Lindros to the division rival New York Rangers. Since Lindros meant so much to this organization, and since other teams in the league were aware of his capabilities, the Flyers had the opportunity to land key players who may one day become the new face of the franchise.
In exchange for Lindros, the Flyers received Jan Hlavac, Kim Johnsson, and Pavel Brendl as well as a 3rd round pick in the 2003 NHL Entry draft, who ended up being Stefan Ruzicka. Johnsson turned out to be the best pick up in the trade scoring 158 points in four seasons with the team. Hlavac and Ruzicka didn’t help out the team much as both combined for 86 games in a Flyers’ uniform for a grand total of 27 points. Brendl didn’t pan out amazingly either as he had 13 points in 52 games while playing two seasons in Philly. Since his time in Philly, Brendl has played on 11 different teams in seven different leagues. Let’s look at what Brendl has done in his career after Philly.
Brendl was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes in February of 2003. Along with Bruno St. Jacques, Brendl was shipped to the Southeast Division for the beloved Sami Kapanen and Ryan Bast.
“His history over the years is he has scored a lot of goals at the level he’s gone through,” Hurricanes’ general manager Jim Rutherford told SI.com after acquiring Brendl. ” He has a very good shot and at some point should be able to score in this league.”
Brendl wasn’t given much opportunity to prove Rutherford right in the latter part of the 2002-03 season as he only had one assist in eight games with his new club.
In the following season, Brendl split his time between the Hurricanes and their AHL affiliate the Lowell Lock Monsters. While joining the likes of Rod Brind’Amour, Justin Williams, Danny Markov, Jesse Boulerice, and Jamie Storr, Brendl had eight points in 18 games scoring five goals, the amount he scored in 42 games for the Flyers in the prior year. Playing alongside Sean Curry with the Monsters, Brendl averaged a point per game posting 33 points in 33 games.
Unfortunately for Brendl, the league had a lockout the following year preventing any chance he had to prove himself in the NHL. Playing in only six games for the entire 2004-2005 season, Brendl had three goals in six games for two different teams. Brendl scored all of his goals in four games for HC Thurgau of the Swiss-B league, a team Marc Savard played for in the same season. His other two pointless games were for HC Trinec Ocelari of the Hockey Czech Republic, a team that also saw Radek Bonk, Michal Rozsival, and Vaclav Pletka play for them in the same season.
As the NHL returned to action Brendl found his way back to the states and back to the AHL. As if not playing for the Hurricanes at all in the 2005-2006 season wasn’t enough of a blow, Brendl was traded three days after Christmas. In exchange for a former Phantom, Brendl was dealt to the Phoenix Coyotes for Krys Kolanos. Brendl would score 13 goals in 38 games for the San Antonio Rampage (Phoenix’s AHL affiliate) and was held scoreless in his two games with the Coyotes. These two games turned out to be Brendl’s last two games in the NHL.
Following the 05-06 season, Brendl ended up playing the next two years in the Swedish Elite League. Playing for Mora IK in 2006-2007, Brendl posted his best professional season to date as he had 34 goals and 23 assists in 57 games.
Leaving Mora IK, Brendl moved to Brynas IF for the 2007-2008 season. In the same number of games, Brendl fell just short of his previous year’s mark as he posted 55 points. He set his professional career high in assists with 24.
Shortly after playing for Brynas IF, Brendl left the Swedish Elite League altogether to play for the KHL. For two seasons, Brendl played for the Nizhny Novgorod Torpedo. In his first season with the team, Brendl scored a professional-high 35 goals in 56 games. In the following season Brendl played in five less games while scoring 27 goals and assisting on 10 more.
Switching to his fifth league within six years, Brendl moved to Kalevan Pallo of the SM-Liiga. Playing in his least amount of games for a season since the lockout year, Brendl almost averaged a point per game in a season for the first time in his career posting seven goals and eight assists in 16 games.
Returning to the KHL, Brendl played for Nizhnekamsk Neftekhimik this past season. Scoring nine goals, Brendl had 10 points in 24 games playing alongside the long lost Scott Munroe.
To say Brendl was a bust would be an understatement.
Considering he was picked fourth overall in the 1999 NHL draft, Brendl’s dominance of European leagues isn’t that impressive. He only played in 80 NHL games scoring 22 points and going pointless in every NHL playoff game he’s played. The most depressing part is the Flyers don’t have anybody to show for their 2001 trade that shipped their former captain to New York.