HHOF Profile: Adam Oates

The NHL is not in a great place right now as there is no hockey and won’t be any hockey in the near future. The next year and possibly more seems very uncertain as millionaires fight billionaires in a battle where only the fans lose. There is something to provide a distraction though as the Hockey Hall of Fame will welcome a new class. It will be a look back into the past when fans saw hockey and weren’t stuck between two battling parts of the bigger NHL machine. For some it will be a reminder of the game and the many members and roles players play on their team. There are a number of roles to be played on a team that all need to operate together to win games. In hockey there are very defined roles for the team like the goal scorers, the tough guys, the grinders, the defensive defenceman, the offensive defenceman, and the playmaker. All of these spots are very important and some get a lot more glory than others especially on offence. The goal scorers will always get the glory as the top scorers and the superstars in the league. The grinders and tough guys also get some glory as folk heroes for their team as they sacrifice their bodies for the team. The one offensive role that rarely gets much attention is the rest of the roles is the playmaker. Assists are not a glory stat in the NHL as those with the most assists do not get a lot of attention unless they also have a lot of goals. The playmaker is the ultimate team player as they give up their chances to get the puck to their teammates who take the glory of a goal. Despite not getting a lot of exposure the playmaker is also one of the most important people on the team. This year the Hockey Hall of Fame will shine some light on one of the best playmakers in the history of the NHL.

Adam Oates is a textbook playmaker as a humble player and a humble man who did his job to help his team win. He didn’t start out as the ultimate team player at the beginning of his career though when the Detroit Red Wings signed him to the richest rookie contract at that time. He immediately became known as a spoiled rookie despite coming to work and doing his job as the second line centre. As solid a player as he was the Red Wings did not want to keep him as he was not what they had expected. So came the trade when Oates and Paul MacLean were traded to the St. Louis Blues for Bernie Federko and Tony McKegney in what would become known as one of the most one-sided trades in NHL history. Oates went to the Blues and played on the top line alongside Brett Hull. This matchup would turn out to be the breakthrough that Oates would need to become one of the best playmakers in the NHL. He would take the momentum from St. Louis into Boston where he would have some of the best seasons in his career. Oates would move on to play 6 seasons at Washington and another three between Philadelphia, Anaheim, and Edmonton. When Oates retired he would be one of the top playmakers in NHL history with the 5th most assists in the NHL with 1,079 helpers and 1,420 points in total. Oates is the epitome of a playmaker as a quite reserved player who keep his head down and does his job. What made him great was his ability to create something out of nothing and get the puck to the people who could score. Ranked with the 6th most assists in the NHL today Oates still considered one of the best playmakers in NHL history and he will sit among the other great playmakers in Toronto when he goes into the Hall of Fame.


Adam Oates, C (1985-2004)
Boston Bruins/Washington Capitals (6 seasons each)
1,337 GP
341 G
1,079 A
1,420 pts
415 PIM
NHL All-Star (1991-1994, 1997)
Also played with Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues, Philadelphia Flyers, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, and Edmonton Oilers

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