April 26, 2016

Joe Sacco

In the 1990s there was not a team in the National Hockey League who did not want to have Colorado Avalanche's superstar Joe Sakic on their roster.

Toronto, Anaheim, Washington, Philadelphia and the New York Islanders all settled for Joe Sacco, instead.

Now Joe Sacco was no Joe Sakic, but he was a pretty good player in his own right.

He played 738 games over 13 seasons. He chipped in with 94 goals and 213 points. Not that he was a noted offensive player. He was an honest, hard working winger who knew his job and did it well.

A very good skater, Sacco went up and down his wing and used his size to go to the net. He was a very underrated player in terms of understanding the game and reading plays as they developed. He was able to create open ice wisely, be it for himself or for his linemates. He always put his team first and rarely cost his team with bad mistakes.

The Massachusetts born Sacco starred at Boston University for three years where he was an excellent scorer. The Leafs drafted Sacco 71st overall in 1987 and had hopes that he could find his scoring touch at the NHL level. When he did not his stock fell substantially.

But he did take the opportunity to represent the United States at the 1992 Olympics. Sacco embraced the international game, playing in six World Championships in his career, as well.

The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim selected Sacco in the 1993 NHL Expansion Draft. With his skating ability and much more opportunity and ice time, Sacco immediately rewarded the Ducks with a 19 goal campaign - the third most goals on the team. He would remain in Anaheim for a total of five seasons but never again challenged the 20 goal mark.

One of the highlights of Sacco's career was the ability to briefly play with his brother Dave. They also played at Boston University together.

After leaving Anaheim Sacco bounced around the league with the Islanders, Capitals and Flyers.

Sacco became a notable coach after hanging up his skates. That included four seasons as head coach of Joe Sakic's Colorado Avalanche.

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