2. Adam Oates
February 7, 1992 is a date that will live in infamy for the St. Louis Blues and their fans. Adam Oates and Brett Hull had formed one of the most formidable duos in NHL history, despite only playing two full seasons together.
While we marvel at the Golden Brett’s overall numbers, Hull’s three most productive seasons in his entire career were the ones he played with Adam Oates.
Hull had 72, 86 and 70 goals with Oates by his side. Oates had 79, 90 and 59 assists as well before being dealt (he got 20 more with Boston for a total of 79 again).
Why in the world would you ever break that up? It had to be on April Fools’, right? Well, unfortunately it had to do with Oates himself.
Oates had just signed a four-year, $3 million extension. Even so, he grew jealous of other deals given to several players including Brendan Shanahan. He threatened to walk out on the team after the 1992 All-Star game. Backed into a corner, the team felt compelled to trade him off instead of renegotiating.
So the Blues traded Oates for Craig Janney and Stephane Quintal. Both players had OK stints with the Blues productive careers. Oates also failed to recapture his glory after two spectacular seasons with the Bruins. However, this deal provides the biggest “what if?” in Blues history.
On principle,I get why you would not want to renegotiate with someone you just gave a new deal to. Conversely, the Blues might have had something beyond special if they had kept Hull and Oates together. The team was extremely talented with Hull alone, but just imagine what could have happened if had a Robin to his Batman.
Even Oats has wondered that out loud. “The year he scored 86, it was just magical. It was one of those years, wherever we went Brett would score two goals or a hat trick. It was just fantastic. I can’t believe we only played together 2½ years because it felt like 10. It was just so special. We just really hit it off as buddies, friends. We played the game the same way; the chemistry was just excellent,” said Oates.