Adam Oates never had a chance to lift the Stanley Cup.
Nor did he ever win a major award.
Yet the word most often associated with his NHL career is "brilliant." Oates combined his talent with a chess master's understanding of the game. This allowed him to get in the right position on the ice, control the puck and draw the defense to him and then make the perfect—not good enough—pass to his teammates.
He was not Wayne Gretzky, but he may have been the second-best assist man in the last quarter century.
Amazingly, Oates was not drafted by an NHL team. He came into the league as a free agent and he was signed by the Detroit Red Wings. He asserted himself with the Red Wings before becoming a superstar with the St. Louis Blues. He was later traded to the Boston Bruins and then the Washington Capitals.
He also had stints with the Flyers, Ducks and Oilers. Here's a look at five of the best moments of his 19-year playing career.