Right-winger Rick Tocchet has been one of the top power forwards of his era. His grit, scoring ability, and leadership have been vital factors on six different clubs.
Born in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough, Tocchet was a fine junior with the OHL's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. He was chosen 125th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers in 1983 and returned for one last year of junior. The tough forward registered 108 points for the Soo in 1983-84 before scoring 39 points as a rookie the next season. In the playoffs, he and fellow rookie Peter Zezel injected life into the club and helped Philly reach the Stanley Cup finals.
Tocchet developed into one of the NHL's premier power forwards. He topped the 30-goal mark four straight years for the Flyers and helped the club come within a game of winning the Stanley Cup in 1987. The hard-nosed competitor also represented his country at the 1990 World Championships and the Canada Cup in 1987 and 1991.
By February 1992, Phladelphia was in decline and the team tried to shake things up by sending Tocchet to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Mark Recchi was the key player they received in the multi-player deal. Tocchet fit in well on his new club and scored 19 points in 14 playoff games as the Pens repeated as Stanley Cup champions. The next year, he scored a career-high 48 goals, but the club was upset by the New York Islanders in the quarter-finals.
During the mid- to late-'90s, the veteran forward was more of grinder on the L.A. Kings, Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals, and Phoenix Coyotes. He returned to Philly in exchange for Mikael Renberg in March 2000 and scored eleven points while helping the team reach the Eastern Conference finals. He provided leadership and scored 36 points for Philly in 2000-01 and was a tough foe in the slot when utilized on the power play.
Tocchet ended his playing career following the 2001-02 season and was named the assistant coach of the Colorado Avalanche in the early part of the 2002-03 season. After his stint in Colorado, he joined the Phoenix Coyotes as an assistant coach working under head coach Wayne Gretzky.
In February 2006, Tocchet was accused of financing a nationwide sports gambling ring based in New Jersey. Over a year later, he plead guilty to conspiracy and promoting gambling. As a result, Tocchet wouldn't find himself behind the bench again until the league reinstated him in February 7, 2008.