The Devils completed their coaching staff today, naming former Lighting assistant Adam Oates to the same position with the organization.
Oates will fall under the role of “offensive assistant” that new coach John MacLean spoke about during his introductory press conference. With the Lightning, Oates helped improve the power play, something the Devils desperately need to improve.
General manager Lou Lamoriello had nothing but praise for the assistant coach.
“Throughout his career, Adam was without question one of the top playmaking centers, particularly on the power play, and was considered one of the top face-off players in the game,” Lamoriello said in a statement released by the team. “These attributes bring a different dimension to our coaching staff and both John and I are delighted that Adam is joining our organization.”
Oates, 47, played in 1,337 NHL games, registering 341 goals and 1,079 assists for 1,420 points and 415 penalty minutes. The former center played for Detroit, St. Louis (where he was teammates with Scott Stevens in 1990-91), Boston, Washington, Philadelphia, Anaheim and Edmonton. Oates played in five NHL All-Star games, and reached the 100 point mark on four occasions. He ranks sixth all-time in assists. Oates retired from playing on April 3, 2004, and took his first NHL assistant job last season with the Lightning.
Oates joins Larry Robinson and Chris Terreri on MacLean’s staff.
I think Oates could do well with the Devils this season. Clearly, the power play needs help. If he can do something to get solid production night in and night out, then I’ll be happy. Too many times over the past few years we’ve watched the Devils look really sharp with the man advantage on night and unorganized the next. The team needs stability, and it seems Oates can bring this to the organization.
I also think his influence will be good for the young centers on this team, especially a guy like Travis Zajac. We all saw Zajac take a step forward last season, and Oates may be able to continue to improve Zajac’s overall play. Oates’ assist numbers are stellar, and I’m sure he can help Zajac to develop better on-ice vision and playmaking skills. While Zajac is one of the better centers in the league, I’m sure he’ll benefit from some time with Oates.