Hockey Hall of Fame center Adam Oates, one of the best playmakers and faceoff men in National Hockey League history, was born August 27, 1962 in Toronto. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound forward was never selected in the NHL Draft but was a star at RPI (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), and accepted an offer from the Detroit Red Wings to turn professional in 1985.
A five-time NHL All-Star, Oates went on to play 1,337 regular season games in the NHL. He compiled 341 goals, 1,079 assists (seventh on the all-time NHL list), 1,420 points (17th on the all-time NHL list), and 415 penalty minutes. He appeared in 163 matches in the Stanley Cup playoffs, (42 goals, 114 assists, 156 points, 66 penalty minutes). Oates' best years came as a member of the St. Louis Blues and, later, the Boston Bruins.
The future Hall of Famer was nearing the end of his career when he had a brief stint with the Flyers in 2001-02. Concerned about injuries to Keith Primeau and Jeremy Roenick with the stretch drive and post season approaching, the Flyers acquired the 39-year-old impeding unrestricted free agent from the Washington Capitals on March 19, 2002. The price of the rental was steep in assets: goaltending prospect Maxime Ouellet and 2002 first-round (traded to the Dallas Stars, Martin Vagner), second-round (Maxime Daigneault) and third-round (Derek Krestanovich).
In his Flyers debut on March 21, 2002, Oates set up John LeClair for the game winning goal in the third period of a 2-1 home win over the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Overall, Oates produced 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in 14 games with Philadelphia. He was credited with 10 takeaways and won 55.73 percent of his faceoffs, while averaging 20:51 of ice time.
The Flyers lost their first-round playoff series in 2002 to the Ottawa Senators in five games; scoring just twice for the entire series. Oates figured in both Philadelphia goals, earning helpers on Ruslan Fedotenko's overtime tally in Game One and Dan McGillis' power play tally in a 2-1 home loss in Game Five. The 39-year-old Oates averaged 21:53 of ice time during the series.
Oates left the Flyers as an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2002, joining the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. He would spend one season apiece with Anaheim and the Edmonton Oilers before retiring. He later began a coaching career, which included a two-season stint as head coach of the Capitals.