Big-framed and physical winger Tom Sestito was born September 28, 1987 in Rome, New York. The Columbus Blue Jackets drafted the 6-foot-5, 228-pound left winger in the third round (85th overall) of the 2006 NHL Draft.
At the Ontario Hockey League level with the Plymouth Whalers, Sestito became a force to be reckoned with as a power forward. In his best season, 2006-07, he compiled 42 goals, 64 points and 135 penalty minutes in 60 games and then added 11 goals, 17 points and 57 penalty minutes in the OHL playoffs.
Moving up to the professional level, Sestito settled more into a policeman, agitator and energy line role, although he periodically showed hints at the American Hockey League of being able to move up in the lineup and evolve into a power forward. Sestito posted 202 penalty minutes for the AHL's Syracuse Crunch in 2007-08 and made his NHL debut that season, racking up 17 penalty minutes in his first game for the Blue Jackets.
Over the next several seasons, Sestito shuttled between Columbus and their AHL farm teams. He spent more time in the AHL than the NHL. On February 28, 2011, the Flyers acquired Sestito from the Blue Jacketts in exchange for center prospect Michael Chaput and right winger Greg Moore.
Sestito finished the 2010-11 season with the AHL's Adirondack Phantoms, playing 11 games. The next year, he accumulated 120 penalty minutes and 17 points (nine goals, eight assists) for the Phantoms in 34 games. He also played in 14 NHL games for the Flyers, posting one assist and 83 penalty minutes.
During the 2012-13 lockout, Sestito played in the United Kingdom for the Sheffield Steelers. He also experienced a bout with mumps before the NHL season finally began. In seven games with the Flyers, Sestito scored a pair of goals and logged 11 penalty minutes.
Both goals came in the same game. On February 5, 2013, Sestito twice pulled off nifty backhanded goals to lift the Flyers to a 2-1 home win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. He was selected as the first star of the game.
The Flyers placed Sestito on waivers on February 28, 2013, in the hopes of assigning the player to the Phantoms. The next day, the Vancouver Canucks claimed Sestito off the waiver wire. Over the remainder of the 2012-13 campaign and in 2013-14, Sestito became a regular in the Canucks' lineup. In the latter season, he dressed in 77 games (five goals, four assists, nine points, and an NHL league-leading 213 penalty minutes).
Sestito split the 2014-15 season between the Canucks and Pittsburgh Penguins organizations and between the NHL and AHL. He spent most of the 2015-16 season with the AHL's Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins but played four late-season NHL games (one assist, 19 penalty minutes) for Pittsburgh.
The Flyers hosted Sestito and the Penguins in Philadelphia's penultimate and Pittsburgh's final game of the 2015-16 regular season. Philadelphia needed a win to clinch a playoff spot. Unwittingly, Sestito helped his former team accomplish the feat. The Flyers clung to a 2-1 lead after the second period. In the third period, Sestito laid a blindside high hit on opponent Ryan White took 17 minutes worth of penalties and gave Philadelphia a five-minute power play. The Flyers went on to win, 3-1.
The Penguins won the Stanley Cup in the 2016 playoffs. Sestito, who returned to Wilkes Barre/Scranton to appear in seven Calder Cup playoff games (one goal, three assists, 52 penalty minutes), did not appear for Pittsburgh in the NHL postseason.