Thursday, August 27, 2009
Born on this date in 1962, Adam Oates, a Canadian, took the less travelled route to the NHL, playing college hockey in the United States for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, more commonly known as RPI, where he helped win the 1985 NCAA Championship. He graduated with school records for most assists (60) and points (91) in a season and career points with 150.
After RPI's championship season, Oates signed as an undrafted free agent with the Detroit Red Wings. He would play four seasons in Detroit before being traded to the St. Louis Blues and begin his journey around the league. Upon his arrival in St. Louis, he would be paired with Brett Hull, a move that enabled him score over 100 points for the first of four times in his career. During his second season in St. Louis, 1990-91, he would accumulate 90 assists in only 61 games.
Following a contract hold out the following year, he would continue his trek, this time being traded to the Boston Bruins. He would show St. Louis the error of their ways with 45 goals and 97 assists for 145 points to finish third in league scoring, a position he would repeat the next season with 32 goals and 80 assists for 112 points. The relationship with the Bruins soured and Oates would once more be on the move three seasons later, this time to the Washington Capitals, where he would change his jersey number from #12 to #77 in honor of Ray Bourque, who remained in Boston.
In Oates first full season in Washington, the Capitals would make it all the way to the 1998 Stanley Cup Finals before falling to the Red Wings. Oates would play six seasons for the Capitals, including leading the league in assists 2000-01. He would repeat that feat in 2001-02, becoming the oldest player to ever do so at age 39. That season would also see him score his 1,000th assist, becoming only the eighth player in NHL history to reach that milestone. However, Oates would once again be traded, finishing the season by playing 14 games with the Philadelphia Flyers.
2002-03 would see Oates return to the Stanley Cup Finals for the second time, now with the Mighty Ducks of Anahiem, before falling in seven games to the New Jersey Devils.
2003-04 would see him add one last opportunity to add to his sweater collection, as he would dress for his seventh and final club, the Edmonton Oilers. His final career totals would stand at 341 goals and 1079 assists for 1420 points in 1337 games and Oates would play in five NHL All-Star Games. His playmaking ability would see him total more assists in the 1990's than any other player, save for Wayne Gretzky. He currently has the most points of any eligible player who is not in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Today's featured jersey is a 1998-99 Washington Capitals Alternate Adam Oates jersey. This jersey features the rare Washington Capitals 25th Anniversary patch, worn only on the Capitals black alternate jerseys for only four games early in the season before the NHL made the Capitals remove the patch since Washington did not receive prior approval to place it on their jerseys.
Here is Oates talking about his favorite memories of playing in St. Louis.
And a few less speaking lines this time around...
That's really about it for Adam Oates on YouTube. Adam Oates has over 1,000 NHL assists, isn't in the Hall of Fame and can't get on YouTube, so here's your homework assignment - someone needs to make a career highlight video of Adam Oates and his undeniable playmaking abilities.