June 12: Adam Oates

Adam Oates.

Yikes, I was given the task to write about Adam Oates. Nothing against the player but he is such a low profile player that it is difficult to find something interesting to say. I can’t really get into stats because it is well documented. But what I wanted to find out what other stellar NHL players he helped reach some lofty heights other than Brett Hull. (Hull & Oates reference anyone?)

On a comical side he played in RPI with Darren Puupa. I loved saying this name when I was younger. A reference to a word that has the same letters as “T H I S” and would get me in trouble! I couldn’t find any other players of note that played with him in his amateur days.

Let’s move onto to the NHL shall we!  In 1985-86, Adam played with the Detroit Red Wings. That team must have been just awful that year winning only 17 games, losing 57 and 6 ties. Harry Neale just couldn’t buy a break that year. Oates and Yzerman combined for a negative plus/minus of 48. Yikes. Nothing beats Petr Klima going -39 on the year though. He played with some stellar company, in Steve Yzerman, Joey Kocur, Ron Duguay and Gerard Gallant.  All had very good NHL careers.

In 1986-87 he went to a plus 21 and 47 points with the Wings going almost .500 that year. This was a major improvement under the illiterate, yet sensationally intelligent coach Jacques Demers.  Did you know Basil McRae was once property of the Red Wings? Only a few years later, Bob Probert would be introduced as a Red Wing. The rest is history. RIP Bob.

In 1987-88 Adam’s team (It was really Yzerman’s team but for the sake of this post, let’s put Adam on a pedestal for once. He deserved it), the team went 41-28-11. Now we are talking! That year I’d have to pick Adam Graves, Joey Kocur, Yzerman, Harold Snepsts, Hanlon, Stefan, Probert and Gallant as the shining lights on that team. Red Wings fans can correct me if they feel I am wrong. I am basing it off the old infamous Leafs-Red Wings rivalries back in the day. I remembered these players because they were so good. I was a child, my mind was faulty, I am allowed to make judgment mistakes.

Fast forward to 1989-90, Adam was part of the St. Louis Blues. He finally broke the 100 point mark. A good portion of those 79 assists helped Brett reach his point total of 113 that year. Adam was a star. He was silent but powerful. At this point, Marc Savard and Adam can draw equal comparisons. Both were stellar, both never got the proper fan adulation they were owed. Curtis Joseph, Hull, Zezel, Ron Wilson, Kelly Chase, Tony Twist and of course a Sutter were on the blues that year. Wow! I loved the Sutters. I will save that for another post. Haha!

Hull & Oatest the following year: 115 vs 131.

Unfortunately, he would never eclipse the 100 point total again to the remainder of his career. But that didn’t downplay his importance with each team he played. He was fortunate to play with the likes of Cam Neely, Ray Bourque, Dave Poulin, Andy Moog, Joe Juneau, Reggie Lemelin, Jagr, Bondra, Olaf Kolzig and so many other great players. Joe Juneau was another dangerous player who also didn’t get the accolades he deserved.

In short, Adam was a beast, amassing over 1000 points, with a higher percentage being assists. It shows he was the brains behind his lines success. I always attribute a higher value on assists that goals. You have to think peripherally, subliminally and be the quarterback of the play. These were days of the centre ice red line, that in of itself made these players even more special. Well that wasn’t a short point to end the post.

One word will summarize Adam #beastmode


2 responses to “June 12: Adam Oates

  1. Adam Oates was one of the purest passers of all-time and Hull owes much of his success to him. Great to see him getting some props.
    Cheers on another great entry sir!


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