Name: Mike Ricci
Born: 10/27/71 in Scarborough, Ontario
Drafted: 1st Round (4th overall) in 1990 by the Flyers
Salary: $1.5 million
|1994||Gold Medal at the World Championships|
The Finesse Game
Ricci is a known quantity. He has terrific hand skills, combined with hockey sense and an outstanding work ethic. He always seems to be in the right place, ready to make the right play. He sees his passing options well and is patient with the puck. He can rifle it as well. He has a good backhand shot from in deep and scores most of his goals from the slot by picking the top corners. His lone drawback is his speed. He's fast enough to not look out of place and he has good balance and agility, but his lack of quickness prevents him from being more of an offensive force. Very slick on face-offs, Ricci has good hand speed and hand-eye coordination for winning draws outright, or he can pick a bouncing puck out of the air. This serves him well in scrambles in front of the net, too, or he can deflect midair slap shots. He can play wing in addition to his natural position at centre. Ricci is a very good penalty killer, with poise and a controlled aggression for forcing the play.
The Physical Game
Ricci is not big, but he is so strong that it's not unusual to see him skate out from behind the net, dragging along or fending off a checker with one arm while he makes a pass or takes a shot with his other arm. He plays a tough game without being overly chippy. He is very strong in the corners and in front of the net. He plays bigger than he is. Ricci will play hurt. He pays attention to conditioning and has a great deal of stamina.
Ricci will antagonize and draw penalties. He will kill penalties and work the power play. He makes timely plays under pressure. Although not as gifted offensively as Ron Francis is, he is similar to Francis in that he is a checking centre who can do so much more than just check. Ricci's quality, character, leadership and dedication to the game and his teammates are impeccable. He is a throwback, and helps provide some grit in a finesse-laden lineup. His teammates love his upbeat off-ice attitude. Ricci has stepped into the gap between the Sharks' kids and their older veterans, and he is a great addition to team chemistry.
Ricci can produce 50 points over a full season and gives the Sharks some options in how to best utilize him.
SOURCE: HOCKEY SCOUTING REPORT