On March 1, 1997, the Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins hooked up in a six-player blockbuster trade. When all the dust settled, Adam Oates was wearing a Washington Capitals uniform.
The Capitals – fighting desperately for a 16th straight NHL playoff berth – shipped three young players to Boston in exchange for three proven veterans. The Capitals obtained Oates, rugged right wing Rick Tocchet and veteran goaltender and Conn Smythe Trophy winner Bill Ranford. Boston received center Jason Allison, left wing Anson Carter and 1996 Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender Jim Carey. The Caps ended up missing the playoffs by a single point that season.
Oates and Allison are now the captains of their respective teams. Tocchet left Washington to sign with Phoenix as a free agent and is now with the Philadelphia Flyers. Carter was a contract holdout in Boston last fall and was subsequently swapped to Edmonton for Billy Guerin. Ranford and Carey are both retired.
Oates has totaled 60 goals, 215 assists and 275 points with Washington. Allison has registered 91 goals, 166 assists and 257 points in Beantown. Washington went to the Cup finals in Oates’ first full season with the Caps; Boston has won only one playoff series since the trade.