Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
With the 41st selection Those Cheap Bastards select:
Adam Oates, C, Red Wings/Bruins/Capitals.
I may move him over to RW, I'm not sure yet. He's a rightie, so the transition whouldn't be out of the question. Not every guy can be an all-out scorer. Oates was great a giving it up so others could "put the biscuit in the basket."
--13th on the all time points list
--6th on the all time assists list
Oates initially did not have much hope of an NHL career, until Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute offerred him a scholarship. He played for the college from 1982 to 1985, where he was a major contributor to RPI's 1985 NCAA Division I championship. After that season, Oates signed as an undrafted free agent with the Detroit Red Wings, with the richest rookie contract up to this time at $1 million over four years. Oates eventually graduated with a Management degree from RPI in 1991.
Although the team's second centreman behind Steve Yzerman, Oates solidified his reputation as an elite NHL playmaker with the Red Wings, and by his last season with the club 1988-89 he was scoring at an almost assist-per-game pace. However, he was traded to the St. Louis Blues after the season along with Paul MacLean for Bernie Federko and Tony McKegney.
Oates prospered in St. Louis, where he teamed up with Brett Hull and became part of the "Hull n Oates" tandem, a reference to the musical duo of Hall & Oates. Mostly thanks to Oates, Hull had three consecutive seasons with at least 70 goals, including the 1990-91 season when Hull scored 86 (a record for right wingers) and won the Hart Trophy. Oates also had a spectacular season, as he had 90 assists and 115 points in only 61 games, earning him a NHL Second Team All-Star. However, as Oates was paid far lower than his market worth, he held out for much of the next season until he was traded to the Boston Bruins in return for Craig Janney and Stephane Quintal.
Oates had perhaps his best seasons yet in 1992-93, as he scored a career-high 45 goals, 97 assists and 142 points to finish third overall in regular season scoring behind Mario Lemieux and Pat LaFontaine. Ironically, the only other player to score 100 points for the Bruins that season was fellow RPI alumnus, Joe Juneau. As well, Oates' 97 assists were more formidable than his totals in his St. Louis years, considering that he did not have a bona-fide sniper playing alongside him the whole season, as Bruins sniper Cam Neely was injured for all but 13 games during the season. The next season, Oates again finished third with 32 goals, 80 assists, and 112 points, behind Wayne Gretzky and Sergei Federov.
Oates played with Boston until the 1996-97 NHL season, when he was traded to the Washington Capitals with Bill Ranford and Rick Tocchet for Jim Carey, Anson Carter, Jason Allison and Washington's 3rd round choice (Lee Goren) in 1997 Entry Draft, March 1, 1997 in a blockbuster move near the trading deadline. Oates helped lead the Capitals to the Stanley Cup Finals the next season, but failed to win as the Capitals lost to the Red Wings, Oates' first NHL team. Oates had a few more productive seasons with the Caps, leading the league in assists in 2000-01 and 2001-02, both feats were done in the two seasons leading up to his fortieth birthday which also made him the oldest player to do so. On January 14, 2002, Oates became only the eighth player in NHL history to earn at least 1,000 career assists, a tribute to his playmaking skills.
In 2002-03, Oates made his second trip to the Stanley Cup Finals, this time with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, but again his team was beat out, this time in seven games by the New Jersey Devils. His career looked to be over after the season, but on November 17, 2003, the Edmonton Oilers desperately needed a center, and signed Oates to a contract. However, the season was a disappointment as he scored only two goals and 18 points, although the Oilers stayed in the playoff hunt until the end of the season. Oates announced his retirement on April 3, 2004 after his team was narrowly eliminated from the postseason
Next to Gretzky, Oates is considered one of the most creative and effective playmakers in the modern NHL era, as Oates had more assists than any other player during the 1990s except for Gretzky. Brett Hull and Oates united to form a high-scoring tandem for three years, with Oates supplying the playmaking for Hull, who was a natural sniper. During those three years, Hull's goal totals were 72-86-70. Outside of the three season, when Hull was not centered by Oates, he never surmounted the 60 goal mark.
Despite his skillful playmaking, strong face-off win percentage, and impressive scoring statistics, Oates never won the Stanley Cup in his career. He was also well known as a clean player, being a six time finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy but losing to Wayne Gretzky, Pierre Turgeon, Ron Francis, and Joe Sakic. He finished third in regular season scoring three times (1990-1991, 1992-1993, and 1993-1994), but only made the postseason All-Star Second Team in 1991. The other two seasons near the top, Oates narrowed missed out because players that finished ahead of him in the scoring place also played centre. Oates's lack of honours meant that he was often underrated compared to his peers.
Oates is considered by most hockey experts to be a favourite for the Hockey Hall of Fame when he is eligible in 2007 but has a lot of competition (Mark Messier, Scott Stevens, Al MacInnis and Ron Francis all become eligible the same year) so it may take a few tries before he gets inducted.