As a defenseman, the scouts liked Ric's size and toughness. He played another two seasons for Brantford until making his pro debut during the 1982-83 season when he played 9 games for the Canadiens farm team Nova Scotia (AHL) and 40 games for Montreal.
Unfortunately Ric will mostly be remembered for getting caught at the customs for possession of 3 grams of Marijuana and 1 gram of Hashish in August 1983. He was fined $150 in a Brantford court, but his stiffest punishment came from the NHL where he was given a 40 game suspension following his conviction in the Ontario court. Some players nicknamed Ric "Stash."
Ric rebounded from this embarrasing moment though. His right were sold from Montreal to St.Louis on October 7, 1985 where he completed two seasons between 1985-87. During the 1987 entry draft Ric was traded from St.Louis to Calgary for their 4th round choice in 1987 (Andy Rymsha) and 5th round choice in 1988 (Dave Lacouture).
Ric spent the next 4½ years in Calgary winning the Stanley Cup in 1989. On January 2, 1992 Ric was involved in the biggest trade ever in NHL history up to that point when he was dealt to Toronto in a 10-player deal that involved Doug Gilmour.
He did very well in Toronto upon his arrival there and scored 16 points in 36 games. During the off-season on August 21, 1992 he decided to sign as a free agent with Philadelphia. Ric responded with a career high 7 goals in only 44 games. The 1992-93 season was his last due to a knee injury that he suffered on March 21, 1993.
Ric Nattress scored 164 points based on 29 goals and 135 assists in 536 career NHL games. Ric wasn't a fancy player by any stretch of the imagination. He lacked creativity and did not handle the puck well, especially under pressure. He was at his best when he kept his style as simple as possible - chipping the puck off of the glass and out of the zone. He was an average, almost clunky skater with a tendency to wander from his position at times. Defensively he was big and strong, but more of a pusher than a hitter. Because his skating could be exploited by faster opponents, he was essentially a depth blue liner.