Today the NHL Network aired the 2012 Hockey Hall of Fame Inductees and finally after five-years of being nominated, former Bruin Adam Oates made the cut. Oates unlike many players today was not drafted into the National Hockey League. His break came when Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute offered him a scholarship. He played three seasons with them, including being a part of RPI’s 1985 NCAA Division I championship team. He graduated with a management degree in 1991 and signed as an undrafted free agent with the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League, with the richest rookie contract up to this time at $1 million over four years. Towards the end of his Red Wings career(1988-1989), he was scoring at an assist-per-game pace.
He was then traded to the St. Louis Blues with Paul MacLean, for Bernie Federko andTony McKegney. It was here that he teamed up with Brett Hull and became part of the “Hull ‘n’ Oates,” a reference to the musical group Hall & Oates. Oates had 90 assists and 115 points in 61 games, earning him an NHL Second Team All-Star. He hung around for another season in St. Louis and then was traded to Boston in return for Craig Janney and Stéphane Quintal. He would play arguably his best season in Boston in 1992-1993 with a career-high 45 goals, 97 assists and 142 points to finish third overall in regular season scoring behind Mario Lemieux andPat LaFontaine.
Oates played with Boston until the 1996–1997, when he was traded on March 1, 1997 to the Washington Capitals with Bill Ranford and Rick Tocchet for Jim Carey, Anson Carter,Jason Allison and Washington’s third-round choice (Lee Goren) in the 1997 Entry Draft. It was in Washington where he changed his jersey number to 77 (which he would wear for the remainder of his career), in honor of former Boston Bruins teammate and friend, Ray Bourque. He helped lead the Capitals to the Stanley Cup Finals the next season,losing to the Red Wings.
Oates played 19 seasons with 7 different teams including four – one hundred point seasons. He is considered one of the more creative and effective playmakers in the modern NHL era, as he had more assists than any other player during the 1990s except for Wayne Gretzky. He had two chances at winning the Stanley Cup with the Capitals and again with Anaheim Ducks, but the dream never came true for Oates.
He was known as a clean player and was a six-time finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy, losing to Joe Sakic, Wayne Gretzky, Pierre Turgeon and Ron Francis.
Currently Oates holds the record for:
- Oldest player to lead the NHL in assists in a single season (64 in 2001–02, at the age of 39)
- Player who has accumulated the most career playoffs points without winning the Stanley Cup
- Sixth all-time in assists
Now Oates is part of the coaching staff, beginning his career with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2009. He had worked with the Tampa Bay coaching staff during 2009 training camp, focusing on offensive strategies with the forwards. Under his direction, the team’s power play ranked fourth in the NHL in the preseason.
In 2010, he became the second assistant coach for the New Jersey Devils, staying through the 2011-2012 season to which the Devils made it to the Stanley Cup Finals.
As of today, June 26, 2012 Adam Oates has been named the head coach for the Washington Capitals for the upcoming 2012-2013 season.
Congratulations Adam on all of your success, your fans in Boston are still rooting for you!