Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Rico Fata
By the time he was sixteen years old, some where heralding Rico Fata, born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, as the next star in the NHL. Fata, who played one year as an under-age with his hometown Greyhounds, then spent his next three years of junior hockey with the OHL's London Knights.

In the end, Fata was the sixth overall draft selection of the Calgary Flames in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. Fata went to camp with the Flames, and that brought him to Japan where the Flames were opening the 1998-99 season. Still without a contract, and a survivor of the final cut at camp, Fata holds the unique distinction of being the only NHLer to sign his first pro contract in Japan. Hours after signing his contract, he made his NHL debut, but by the 20-game mark that season, he'd registered only one assist and spent the remainder of the year in the AHL.

The next year, Fata played just two games with Calgary, and yet again failed to make an impression on the Flames coaching staff. His third season in the organization he again spent in the AHL helping the Saint John Flames capture their first Calder Cup, while playing five games with the big club throughout the year. When he failed to crack the Calgary roster during the 2001-02 training camp, Rico Fata was placed on waivers.

The New York Rangers, impressed with Fata's skating and puck skills claimed the speedy winger but after just five games, all of which Fata was held scoreless, he was assigned to their AHL affiliate in Hartford. In 2002-03 Fata impressed the Rangers coaching staff enough to have him play in 36 games with the club before he was dealt to the Pittsburgh Penguins just prior to the trading deadline. Upon his arrival in Pittsburgh, Fata was placed on a line with Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux and went on to register 13 points (5-8-13) in 27 games with the club.

The 2003-04 season marked Fata's first full season in the NHL, and with the opportunity to play on a regular basis, the former junior star went on to register 34 points (16-18-34). Following a lock-out year in 2004-05 that forced Fata to take his game to Italy, the former junior star split the early part of the 2005-06 season between Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL before being claimed off waivers by the Atlanta Thrashers in January, 2006.

Fata would compete in only 6 games with the Thrashers before he was claimed on waivers by the Washington Capitals.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1994-95 Sault Ste. Marie Legion NOHA 51 52 51 103
1995-96 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds OHL 62 11 15 26 52 4 0 0 0 0
1996-97 London Knights OHL 59 19 34 53 76
1997-98 London Knights OHL 64 43 33 76 110 16 9 5 14 49
1998-99 Calgary Flames NHL 20 0 1 1 4 0
1998-99 London Knights OHL 23 15 18 33 41 +3 25 10 12 22 42
1998-99 Canada WJC-A 7 1 3 4 8
1999-00 Calgary Flames NHL 2 0 0 0 0 -1
1999-00 Saint John Flames AHL 76 29 29 58 65 -11 3 0 0 0 4
2000-01 Calgary Flames NHL 5 0 0 0 6 -3
2000-01 Saint John Flames AHL 70 23 29 52 129 +10 19 2 3 5 22
2001-02 New York Rangers NHL 10 0 0 0 0 -2
2001-02 Hartford Wolf Pack AHL 61 35 36 71 36 +27 10 2 5 7 4
2002-03 New York Rangers NHL 36 2 4 6 6 -1
2002-03 Hartford Wolf Pack AHL 9 8 6 14 6 +4
2002-03 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 27 5 8 13 10 -6
2003-04 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 73 16 18 34 54 -46
2004-05 A&O Asiago Hockey Italy 35 18 20 38 36 9 7 5 12 10
2005-06 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 20 0 0 0 10 -5
2005-06 Wilkes-Barre Penguins AHL 25 8 10 18 39 +7
2005-06 Atlanta Thrashers NHL 6 0 1 1 4 -2
2005-06 Washington Capitals NHL 21 3 3 6 8 +3
2006-07 Washington Capitals NHL 10 1 1 2 2 +3
2006-07 Adler Mannheim Germany 29 8 10 18 12 11 2 4 6 8
2007-08 Adler Mannheim Germany 53 7 14 21 67 5 0 2 2 2
2008-09 EHC Biel-Bienne Swiss 45 18 16 34 44 8 5 2 7 8
2008-09 EHC Biel-Bienne Swiss-Q 7 6 3 9 10
2009-10 EHC Biel-Bienne Swiss 41 15 16 31 28 11 3 1 4 14
2009-10 EHC Biel-Bienne Swiss-Q 5 1 4 5 2
2010-11 EHC Biel-Bienne Swiss 47 13 21 34 16 4 1 4 5 0
2011-12 HC Geneve-Servette Swiss 50 17 16 33 26 9 5 2 7 18
2012-13 HC Geneve-Servette Swiss 41 8 16 24 20 1 0 0 0 2
NHL Totals 230 27 36 63 104


AHL All-Rookie Team (2000) AHL Second All-Star Team (2002) Claimed on waivers by NY Rangers from Calgary, October 3, 2001. Traded to Pittsburgh by NY Rangers with Joel Bouchard, Richard Lintner and Mikael Samuelsson for Mike Wilson, Alex Kovalev, Janne Laukkanen and Dan LaCouture, February 10, 2003. Signed as a free agent by Asiago (Italy), August 15, 2004. Claimed on waivers by Atlanta from Pittsburgh, January 31, 2006. Claimed on waivers by Washington from Atlanta, March 9, 2006. Signed as a free agent by Mannheim (Germany), November 8, 2006.