Big. That summed up Adam Creighton's physical presence and the expectations of the Buffalo Sabres, who drafted him eleventh overall in the first round of the 1983 NHL Entry Draft.
Creighton joined the Ottawa 67's of the OHL as a 16-year-old, suiting up for 60 games and scoring 15 goals and 42 points in his rookie campaign. In his draft year, Creighton scored 44 goals and 46 assists for 90 points in 68 games. By 1983-84, Creighton was the clear leader of the 67's, scoring 91 points in just 56 regular-season games. That season Ottawa went all the way to the Memorial Cup where they captured the championship, which served as further confirmation to the Sabres that they had made the correct pick in the draft.
While still just 19, Creighton broke in to the Sabres' lineup for 30 games in 1984-85, while also dressing for the Rochester Americans and even ten games with his junior club in Ottawa. In 1985-86, injuries and inconsistent play limited Creighton to just 19 games with the Sabres. In 1986-87, Creighton played in 56 games, scoring 18 goals and 40 points. Once again, injuries and mediocre play had Creighton appearing in just 36 and 24 games, respectively over the next two years. By now, the Sabres' braintrust had clearly grown impatient waiting for him to emerge as a star player, despite the fact he was still just 23 years old. Midway through the 1988-89 season, Creighton was dealt to the Chicago Blackhawks.
The 1989-90 season with the Blackhawks was Creighton's best from an offensive point of view. He had 34 goals and 36 assists for 70 points with 224 minutes in penalties in 80 games. It was thought that Creighton had finally broken through and was on his way to more consistent play, but the following year his point total dropped by 19. By now, the Blackhawks had run out of patience with the big centre and shipped him to New York in a trade with the Islanders. Creighton finished the remaining 66 games with the Islanders before signing with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1992-93. In 83 games, Creighton scored 19 goals and 39 points, decent numbers for the most part, but certainly not superstar numbers that had been predicted a decade earlier from many NHL scouts.
Creighton played in Tampa for one more season, yielding a 39-point season in 53 games. In the shortened 1994-95 season, he joined the St. Louis Blues, appearing in all 48 games and picking up 14 goals and 20 assists. In spite of the benefit of an additional 13 games the following year, Creighton's point production dropped to 21. He made one final attempt at remaining in the NHL, rejoining Chicago for 19 games in 1996-97, but he scored just once while assisting on two others, confirming that his days as an NHL player were over. He continued to play pro hockey in Germany for two years with the Augsburg Panthers before retiring in 1999 at the age of 34.