It was 17 years ago today that the Edmonton Oilers signed future Hall of Famer Adam Oates.
It marked Oates’ swan song in the NHL as he would retire after playing 60 games for the club that year. The vet of over 1300 NHL games had signed a one year deal and chipped in two goals and 18 points playing as a third-liner for the team.
He brought with him invaluable knowledge to the club and was nothing short of someone who was great to have in the room. That Edmonton club had featured the likes of young players like Ales Hemsky, Jarret Stoll, Raffi Torres, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Shawn Horcoff and Ryan Smyth.
When Oates signed with the Oilers, he did so after being unable to find a home for that season.
“The Oilers sign a big name for big money? Believe it. Adam Oates is here,” read the header for the following days Edmonton Journal.
Here’s what Edmonton Journal scribe Joanne Ireland wrote of the move:
Skating has never been his strong suit — in fact it was one of the reasons Adam Oates never figured he’d end up playing for the Oilers.
But the Edmonton NHL club was desperate for an experienced playmaking centre and Oates, an unrestricted free agent, needed to get back to the game.
On Monday, the two struck a one-year deal worth $1.95 million US less the 17 games the Oilers have alreadyplayed.
“It’s a real good fit,” said Oates’s agent Larry Kelly.
The 41-year-old veteran was to land in Edmonton today but it will be be several days before he’s in game shape. He has been working out in Palm Springs but hasn’t been skating and hasn’t played since Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals when he was a Mighty Duck.
“It’s going to take me some time before I’m in hockey shape, but we all felt that would come back pretty quick,” said Oates, who finalized the deal himself in a conversation with Oilers general manager Kevin Lowe. “My goal is obviously the second half of the season which, for aguy in my position,! think is good. help revive power play “I really hope to help the team in the latter stretch. I haven’t skated in a long time … and the last tiling you want to do is rush something and get hurt.”
Oates retired after the Oilers were eliminated from playoff contention in the final game of the season. He finished his career with 1337 games played, 341 goals, 1079 assists and 1420 points.
He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012.
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