Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Adam Oates
The name of Adam Oates is almost sure to come up when the conversation comes around to one-sided deals in the NHL. Near the beginning of his pro career, the hard-working centre from Weston, Ontario (born August 27, 1962) was at the heart of a trade that is often remembered as one of the biggest steals in league history. After the 1988-89 season, Oates and his Detroit Red Wings' teammate Paul MacLean were traded to the St. Louis Blues for Bernie Federko and Tony McKegney.

Within a year Federko had retired and McKegney had been traded away again. In St. Louis, however, Oates' fortunes took a completely different turn. Playing on a line with Brett Hull, he quickly gained the reputation as one of the NHL's premier passing centres and established himself as the number-one setup man for his high-scoring linemate.

Maybe it was the hype that surrounded Oates during his time with the Wings that made the eventual trade seem so odd. In 1985, just out of college where he had been a star with NCAA champion Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Wings general manager Jim Devellano and team owner Mike Ilitch, who personally worked out the deal over the summer of 1985, had signed him. Oates was 23 when he signed with the Wings, and despite his college success, he was still an unproven rookie. The fact that he signed the richest rookie contract in league history at the time -- $1 million over four years -- did not endear him to his teammates and opponents.

A hard worker without a lot of flash who was good on defence and at making plays, the young Oates was one of the few NHL stars never to have been chosen in the draft, and was slotted into the Detroit lineup as a second-line centre behind Steve Yzerman.

Oates split that rookie year between Detroit and Adirondack of the AHL. His Detroit tenure was short-lived, and it was only within the freer offensive system in place in St. Louis that he was able to come into his own as a playmaking centre. After establishing his game there, Oates was traded again, this time to Boston in 1992. Oates spent parts of six seasons with the Bruins where he established a career-high 45 goals and 97 assists for 142 points in 1992-93. He joined the Washington Capitals in the late stages of the 1996-97 season and, upon arriving, was instrumental in leading the Caps to their first Stanley Cup Final in 1998.

Following parts of six seasons with the Capitals, Oates was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers at the March trading deadline in 2002. However, Oates's tenure with the Flyers would last but 14 games as he became a free agent during the off-season and signed with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. Even though he was hampered by injuries during the 2002-03 season, he still managed to reach 1,400 points and ranked sixth all-time in career assists with 1,063 at the end of that season.

Oates topped the 2002-03 campaign by leading his Ducks to the Stanley Cup Final, only to lose to the New Jersey Devils in a hard-fought seven game series. He finished with a team-high 13 playoff points.

After Anaheim opted not to re-sign the veteran centreman, the Edmonton Oilers signed the free agent in November 2003. Oates struggled offensively with the Oilers that season as the Oilers failed to qualify for the playoffs. In April 2004, Adam Oates officially announced his retirement from the game of hockey.

Through nineteen NHL seasons, Adam Oates scored 341 goals and contributed a staggering 1,079 assists for a total of 1,420 points in 1,337 regular season NHL games. He also scored 42 goals and 114 assists for 156 points in 163 playoff contests.

In 2012, the outstanding playmaking skills of Adam Oates were recognized when he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1979-80 Port Credit Titans ON-Jr.B 34 30 36 66 41
1979-80 Markham Waxers ON-Jr.A 9 1 6 7 2
1980-81 Markham Waxers ON-Jr.A 43 36 53 89 89
1981-82 Markham Waxers ON-Jr.A 47 54 105 159 30
1982-83 RPI Engineers ECAC 22 9 33 42 8
1983-84 RPI Engineers ECAC 38 26 57 83 15
1984-85 RPI Engineers ECAC 38 31 60 91 29
1985-86 Detroit Red Wings NHL 38 9 11 20 10 -24
1985-86 Adirondack Red Wings AHL 34 18 28 46 4 17 7 14 21 4
1986-87 Detroit Red Wings NHL 76 15 32 47 21 0 16 4 7 11 6
1987-88 Detroit Red Wings NHL 63 14 40 54 20 +16 16 8 12 20 6
1988-89 Detroit Red Wings NHL 69 16 62 78 14 -1 6 0 8 8 2
1989-90 St. Louis Blues NHL 80 23 79 102 30 +9 12 2 12 14 4
1990-91 St. Louis Blues NHL 61 25 90 115 29 +15 13 7 13 20 10
1991-92 St. Louis Blues NHL 54 10 59 69 12 -4
1991-92 Boston Bruins NHL 26 10 20 30 10 -5 15 5 14 19 4
1992-93 Boston Bruins NHL 84 45 97 142 32 +15 4 0 9 9 4
1993-94 Boston Bruins NHL 77 32 80 112 45 +10 13 3 9 12 8
1994-95 Boston Bruins NHL 48 12 41 53 8 -11 5 1 0 1 2
1995-96 Boston Bruins NHL 70 25 67 92 18 +16 5 2 5 7 2
1996-97 Boston Bruins NHL 63 18 52 70 10 -3
1996-97 Washington Capitals NHL 17 4 8 12 4 -2
1997-98 Washington Capitals NHL 82 18 58 76 36 +6 21 6 11 17 8
1998-99 Washington Capitals NHL 59 12 42 54 22 -1
1999-00 Washington Capitals NHL 82 15 56 71 14 +13 5 0 3 3 4
2000-01 Washington Capitals NHL 81 13 69 82 28 -9 6 0 0 0 0
2001-02 Washington Capitals NHL 66 11 57 68 22 -2
2001-02 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 14 3 7 10 6 -2 5 0 2 2 0
2002-03 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim NHL 67 9 36 45 16 -1 21 4 9 13 6
2003-04 Edmonton Oilers NHL 60 2 16 18 8 0
2004-05
NHL Totals 1337 341 1079 1420 415 163 42 114 156 66


ECAC Second All-Star Team (1984)
NCAA East First All-American Team (1984, 1985)
ECAC First All-Star Team (1985)
NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team (1985)
NHL Second All-Star Team (1991) Played in NHL All-Star Game (1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1997)
Signed as a free agent by Detroit, June 28, 1985. Traded to St. Louis by Detroit with Paul MacLean for Bernie Federko and Tony McKegney, June 15, 1989. Traded to Boston by St. Louis for Craig Janney and Stephane Quintal, February 7, 1992. Traded to Washington by Boston 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. Traded to Philadelphia by Washington for Maxime Ouellet and Philadelphia's 1st (later traded to Dallas - Dallas selected Martin Vagner), 2nd (Maxime Daigneault) and 3rd (Derek Krestanovich) round choices in 2002 Entry Draft, March 19, 2002. Signed as a free agent by Anaheim, July 1, 2002. Signed as a free agent by Edmonton, November 17, 2003.
Officially announced retirement, April 3, 2004.