The Hall & Oates

The hockey Hall of Fame will announce its 2010 inductees on Tuesday, with Joe Nieuwendyk looking like the only lock to get the call.  The cast of eligible players is fairly impressive this season with several former stars up for consideration including; Pavel Bure, Eric Lindros, Dave Andreychuk, Doug Gilmour, Phil Housley, Dino Ciccarelli, Pierre Turgeon, Tom Barrasso, and a bevy of others worthy of induction.

The debate to include Bure and Lindros is a good one, but it could be a long shot for either to be inducted this season.  Both Lindros and Bure were dominant players at one time, but each saw his career derailed by injury far too early.  I’d make the case for both to be in the Hall of Fame, just not this year.  Nieuwendyk appears to be the only unanimous choice for 2010, although it’s entirely possible that Dino Ciccarelli will find induction on Tuesday.

The list of eligible players is an impressive one, although lacking the surefire superstar power of 2009′s class there’s no shortage of celebrated and accomplished players itching for the nod in 2010.  One player that has failed to garner the attention that he’s due is Adam Oates.  A native of Weston, ON, Oates chose to go to college rather than play junior hockey in Canada.  A product of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Oates entered the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings and developed into one of the best playmaking centremen in the league while playing behind Steve Yzerman.  Oates was packaged with Paul MacLean and traded to St. Louis for Bernie Federko and Tony McKegney in of the most lopsided trades of all-time.

That Oates has has been bereft of the same attention given to some of his peers, can probably be attributed to his not-so flashy style and the fact that he played well beyond his prime without ever capturing a Stanley Cup.  It was in St. Louis where Adam Oates would become a hockey household name when he teamed with Brett Hull to help the sniper to goal totals of 72, 86, and 70 over three seasons.  Proving he was more than just a sidekick lucky enough to be feeding the puck to an elite sniper, Oates would have his greatest statistical season with Boston in 1992-93 by finishing third in overall scoring with 142 points.  Hull, for the record, would never again reach the 70-goal plateau after Oates’ departure from St. Louis.

Oates’ career assist totals are staggering at 1079, good enough for sixth on the all-time leaders’ list.  Through the 1990s, only one player assisted on more goals than Adam Oates; Wayne Gretzky.  Since 1997 (when the NHL increased the tracking of statistics), Oates managed 56.9 face-off winning percentage.  That puts him in the top-20 among both active and inactive players.  As much as I personally despise the saying; the stats don’t lie.  Adam Oates deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, and he deserves to go now.

Adam Oates played 1337 NHL games, and totaled 341 goals along with his 1079 assists with seven different teams.  He was a six time finalist for the Lady Byng award, and leads all retired Hall of Fame eligible players in points.  Will the Hall call for Oates?  He’d certainly have my vote, but we’ll see what tomorrow brings.

Comments (8)

  1. Its got to be Doug Gilmour, I dont care what anybody says he is a first ballot hall of famer to me.

  2. @Rsmotors Coincidentally, Gilmour’s two best seasons were 1992-93 and 93-94. He totaled 238 points between those two seasons, which were also Oates’ best years. Oates narrowly beat Gilmour’s totals with 254 points. They’re both sure bets IMO, not sure if there’s room for both this year, though.

  3. I think Bure’s a better bet than Lindros. Lindros may have (arguably) had a higher peak – notably, in a strike-shortened season – but I don’t see how you can have a HOF without the player who was the most feared goal-scorer in hockey for a good five or six years. He had back-to-back 60 goal seasons, then nearly did so again in the midst of the dead puck era. Or to put it another way… how many five-time 50 goal scorers aren’t in the HOF?

    (And once you open the door for someone like Neely, you have to get Bure in as well.)

    Gilmour and Oates are both borderline for me. I can see Gilmour getting more support because the Hall’s fairly biased towards success in Toronto. I think Gilmour’s a better defensive player overall if not necessarily a better faceoff man; after all, Gilmour had Zezel around to take draws during his peak seasons.

  4. Oates should be in. I have trouble seeing why Nieuwendyk is an automatic in so many people’s minds, honestly. I mean, Oates’ numbers blow Nieuwendyk’s out of the water, and aside from his earlier days in Calgary when he never topped 100 points he spent the rest of his career as a second line support centre, albeit on some good teams. Yet every article I read seems to think he’s in for sure his first year of eligibility.

    I like Bure and Lindros to be inducted, personally, but I have a preference for players who were really dominant, even if it was for a shorter period of time, than for guys who were pretty good for a long time. I have trouble separating the arguments for and against Gilmour from the whining of Leaf fans who think he should’ve been inducted already, so I’ll stay away from that one.

  5. Biased towards Toronto my ass. How many marginal players from the Oiler and Montreal dynasties are in the Hall?

  6. “How many marginal players from the Oiler and Montreal dynasties are in the Hall?”

    The only Oilers in are Gretzky, Kurri, Messier, Fuhr, Coffey, and Anderson – who had to wait a long time in spite of being one of the greatest post-season scorers ever. When they induct Steve Smith, you might have an argument.

    It’s not that Leafs get in (because, let’s face it, they haven’t had that many players who should have been good enough in the last 40 years), but everyone who gets reports about the reporting always mentions that the Leafs get a bit of “special attention.”

  7. Nieuwendyk was an awesome and complete hockey player. He scored 192 goals in his first 4 seasons. Outside of the last 4 or 5 years of his career,he was never a ‘support’ player. He scored 564 goals in the NHL and has 3 rings. Adam Oates has 0 rings. I’d still put Oates in but not before Nieuwendyk, Gilmour or Bure.
    Anyone that says Doug Gilmour shouldn’t be in has never seen him play hockey. It isn’t his 5.5 years in Toronto that define him, it’s the 20 seasons in the NHL and his ability to show up for the big games (188pts in 182 playoff games) that should get him in.
    I can’t believe anyone would debate Bure’s inclusion, 437 goals in 702 games; he was the most dangerous sniper in the league for almost a decade.
    Lindros and Mogilny simply don’t have the numbers to be in the discussion, sure; they’d be shoo-ins if they had managed to stay healthy but they didn’t stay healthy.
    Ciccarelli and Turgeon don’t belong and anyone who considers defense as a mandatory component of a defenseman’s resume knows that Housley doesn’t belong either.
    Beyond the stats, anyone who actually watched Bure, Gilmour or Nieuwendyk play will recognize that they are HOF’ers.

  8. [...] Seaman, but the exclusion of Pat Burns is a black mark on an already bullshit voting system.I made a case for Adam Oates yesterday, knowing that he was a long shot.  That Oates won’t receive the call to the Hall [...]

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