Recchi became one of the top scorers in NHL history, a three-time Stanley Cup champion and a 2017 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee -- all despite being considered undersized and not a great skater.
He was 20 years old when the Pittsburgh Penguins selected him in the fourth round (No. 67) of the 1988 NHL Draft, after he finished third in the Western Hockey league with 154 points (61 goals, 93 assists) playing for Kamloops.
Recchi made his NHL debut Nov. 16, 1988, but spent most of his first professional season with Muskegon of the International Hockey League. He moved into the Penguins lineup full time the next season, and broke out in 1990-91. With Mario Lemieux limited to 26 games because of a back injury, Recchi was fourth in the NHL with 113 points (40 goals, 73 assists), and had 34 points (10 goals, 24 assists) in 24 playoff games to help the Penguins win the Stanley Cup for the first time since entering the NHL in 1967.
The Penguins traded Recchi to the Philadelphia Flyers on Feb. 19, 1992, for a package that included forward Rick Tocchet and defenseman Kjell Samuelsson. In 1992-93, his first full season with the Flyers, he set a Philadelphia record with 123 points (53 goals, 70 assists). He had 107 points (40 goals, 67 assists) in 1993-94, but the Flyers traded him to the Montreal Canadiens on Feb. 9, 1995, for forwards John LeClair and Gilbert Dionne and defensemen Eric Desjardins.
Recchi spent five seasons with the Canadiens before they traded him back to the Flyers on March 10, 1999. He led the NHL with 63 assists in 1999-2000, when he helped the Flyers reach the Eastern Conference Final. He also helped them get back to the conference final in 2004.
On March 13, 2001, Recchi's first-period goal against the St. Louis Blues gave him 1,000 points, and he played his 1,000th NHL game against the Penguins on March 23, 2002.
Recchi returned to the Penguins in 2005 but was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes on March 9, 2006, and he had 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in 24 games to help the Hurricanes win the Stanley Cup.
He returned to the Penguins again that summer and scored his 500th NHL goal on Jan. 26, 2007.
After stints with the Atlanta Thrashers and Tampa Bay Lightning, Recchi was traded to the Boston Bruins on March 4, 2009. On Oct. 24, 2009, he became the 13th player in NHL history to play 1,500 games, and exactly one month later, his second of two goals against the Florida Panthers made him the 13th players with 1,500 points.
Recchi helped the Bruins reach the Stanley Cup Final against the Vancouver Canucks in 2011, and in Game 2, at age 43 years, 126 days, he became the oldest player in NHL history to score in a Cup Final. When the Bruins won Game 7, Recchi became the eighth modern-era NHL player (since 1943-44) to win the Cup with three different teams.
He finished his NHL career with 1,533 points (577 goals, 956 assists) in 1,652 regular-season games and 147 points (61 goals, 86 assists) in 189 playoff games. Six years later, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
NOTES & TRANSACTIONS
- WHL West First All-Star Team (1988)
- IHL Second All-Star Team (1989)
- NHL Second All-Star Team (1992)
- Played in NHL All-Star Game (1991, 1993, 1994, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000)
- Traded to Philadelphia by Pittsburgh with Brian Benning and Los Angeles' 1st round pick (previously acquired, Philadelphia selected Jason Bowen) in 1992 NHL Draft for Rick Tocchet, Kjell Samuelsson, Ken Wregget and Philadelphia's 3rd round pick (Dave Roche) in 1993 NHL Draft, February 19, 1992.
- Traded to Montreal by Philadelphia with Philadelphia's 3rd round pick (Martin Hohenberger) in 1995 NHL Draft for Eric Desjardins, Gilbert Dionne and John LeClair, February 9, 1995.
- Traded to Philadelphia by Montreal for Dainius Zubrus, Philadelphia's 2nd round pick (Matt Carkner) in 1999 NHL Draft and NY Islanders' 6th round pick (previously acquired, Montreal selected Scott Selig) in 2000 NHL Draft, March 10, 1999.
- Signed as a free agent by Pittsburgh, July 9, 2004.
- Traded to Carolina by Pittsburgh for Niklas Nordgren, Krys Kolanos and Carolina's 2nd round pick (later traded to San Jose, later traded to Philadelphia, Philadelphia selected Kevin Marshall) in 2007 NHL Draft, March 9, 2006.
- Signed as a free agent by Pittsburgh, July 25, 2006.
- Claimed on waivers by Atlanta from Pittsburgh, December 8, 2007.
- Signed as a free agent by Tampa Bay, July 8, 2008.
- Traded to Boston by Tampa Bay with Tampa Bay's 2nd round pick (later traded to Florida, Florida selected Alexander Petrovic) in 2010 NHL Draft for Matt Lashoff and Martins Karsums, March 4, 2009.
- Officially announced his retirement, June 15, 2011.