Never drafted, RPI-grad Oates was signed by the Detroit Red Wings back in 1985 - thus kicking off a career that would span two decades, seven franchises, numerous assists and some slightly awkward commercials. Of course Caps fans likely remember Oates fondly from his six year-stint with the Caps, including the franchise's first and only trip (so far) to the Stanley Cup Finals. During his tenure in Washington he scored his 1000th career point and became just the 8th player in NHL history to also record 1000 assists. He would retire in 2004 with the sixteenth-highest career point total... and no Cups.
After a few years away from the NHL Oates returned in 2009 as an assistant coach for the Tampa Bay Lightning, helping the Bolts improve both special teams by about 2% over the course of the season before departing for the Devils' bench the following summer. He has widely been credited with improving New Jersey's special teams, as well, particularly the penalty kill - which led the NHL during the regular season with an amazing 89.6% effectiveness rate to go with a League-leading 15 shorthanded goals.
Fresh off another (futile) Cup Final appearance, this time behind the bench, can Oates return to Washington and finally get that elusive ring? You'd like to find out, and perhaps the rest of us will as well.
Oates's coaching history (via hockeydb.com) :
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