Mike Ricci was a very famous hockey prospect in the late 1980s. There was a book written on Ricci and several other highly touted prospects (I’ve read it several times but do not own the book, if you know it let me knw) as they went through their final junior season.
He was named OHL player of the year and CHL Player of the year after his final season in junior.
Ricci was a high draft pick (4th overall), scored over 20 goals in the NHL as a teenager and early in his career he was part of the biggest trade of the 90s: the Lindros deal. By all accounts, he was a major part of the deal, to the point where several sources reported it would not have happened without Ricci’s inclusion.
In Quebec he played third line C (behind two bums, Sundin and Sakic) and even early in his career was often assigned to the other team’s best center. He was projected to become a Bryan Trottier type, but the offense didn’t come with him from junior and he settled into a quality career as a two way center.
A scouting report on Ricci early in his career went like this: Has good speed, but nothing that makes you go “wow”. Strong on his skates, clever with the puck and a good sense of when to pass and when to shoot, making him a viable powerplay quarterback from the sideboards. He can score from anywhere, superb hand-eye and he can make a pass late and take a hit to make it happen. He has an awareness of where to be, and makes a good transition when the puck is turned over. Good on faceoffs, he finishes his checks with authority, good in the corners and is willing to do the dirty work. He is an extremely intense, antagonizing, yappy competitor who needs to work on discipline. A leader, tremendous character player.
That’s a helluva scouting report, and Mike Ricci was a helluva player. He was on the Stanley team in Colorado 1996, and it looks like he’s reached the end of the line.
He was nothing to look at, but he was a beauty.