On this day in 2000, the Leafs Acquire Darcy Tucker from the Lightning

Aleena Aksenchuk
5 months ago
On this day in 2000, the Toronto Maple Leafs acquired forward Darcy Tucker and a fourth-round pick in the 2000 NHL Draft from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for Mike Johnson, Marek Posmyk, and fifth and sixth-round picks in the 2000 NHL Draft. 
When Tucker arrived in Toronto, everyone knew what kind of player the Leafs had traded for. In Tampa, Tucker had established himself as an on-ice aggravator who knew how to score, as he showcased with the Lightning, recording 41 goals and 91 points across 167 games.
Tucker comes to Maple Leafs as ‘Pitbull on skates’ from Lightning.
Tucker was relentless on the ice, tallying 373 penalty minutes, and consistently got under his opponent’s skin, and he loved every second of it. 
“I love going into a rink and being the most hated guy on the ice,” Tucker told The Toronto Star‘s Ken Campbell. “Who wouldn’t?”
Tucker gave it all to his team on the ice and wasn’t afraid to stand up for his teammates, which brought the market to love his style of play and his winning mentality. 
Tucker played with the Leafs for eight seasons, recording 148 goals and 319 points with an additional 756 penalty minutes. His aggressive playing style contributed to five Stanley Cup runs for the Leafs, one of which brought them all the way to the Conference Final (2001-02), in which the Leafs eventually lost the series 4-2 against the Carolina Hurricanes. Regardless, Tucker became a significant offensive piece, playing alongside Mats Sundin, Bryan McCabe, and Tomas Kaberle, to name a few. 
 It wasn’t unusual for the Ottawa Senators and the Leafs to find themselves in heated matchups throughout the season, as they did in March 2003, which led to one of Tucker’s most memorable moments. 
Tucker and the Leafs were down 3-1 in the third period when Travis Green was called for charging and receiving a penalty on the play. While taking the walk of shame to the box, he started pointing at the Senators’ bench, specifically Senators’ forward Chris Neil. Tucker continued to stir the pot, heading straight towards Ottawa’s bench and began throwing fists at Neil. Despite the efforts of Kaberle and Alyn McCauley, who jumped in to support their teammate, the entire Senators’ bench swarmed Tucker. The brawl ended with Tucker and Senators’ Shane Hnidy going one-on-one. 

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Eventually, Tucker’s time with the Leafs ended in 2008 when he signed as a free agent with the Colorado Avalanche. In 2010, Tucker announced his retirement from the NHL. He played a total of 947 games, scoring 215 goals and 176 points with 1410 penalty minutes split between the Lightning (three seasons 1998-2000), Montreal Canadiens (1995-1998), Maple Leafs (2000-2008), and the Avalanche (2008-2010).
The fourth-round pick the Leafs acquired alongside Tucker landed them Miguel Delisle, but he remained in the OHL with the Ottawa 67’S, Owen Sound Attack, and Kingston Frontenacs until graduating to the ECHL, then to the St. Thomas University Tommies. 
The critical return for the Lightning was Johnson. The young 25-year-old appeared in 226 games for the Leafs, recording 48 goals and 120 points. His tenure in Tampa Bay was significantly short, appearing in the second half of the 1999-00 season and 64 games of the 2000-01 campaign before he was traded to the Phoenix Coyotes. 
Posmyk made his debut with the Lightning but only made 19 appearances throughout two seasons, recording one goal and three points. He eventually signed as a free agent with Zlin in Chance Liga (Czech Republic).
Both the fifth (Pavel Sedov) and sixth round (Aaron Gionet) selections the Lightning made at the 2000 NHL Draft never boasted the iconic blue and white Maple Leafs jersey.

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