Just two days after firing head coach John Stevens, the Los Angeles Kings weren’t done making organizational changes.
The team announced Tuesday they had reached an agreement with Adam Oates to bring in the Hockey Hall of Famer as a consultant to assist with player development and skills evaluation.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was first to report this in his latest 31 Thoughts column prior to the official announcement.
Oates, one of 13 players in NHL history to register more than 1,000 assists, is widely regarded as one of the best passers and playmakers in NHL history.
The 56-year-old has experience coaching at the NHL level – he’s had brief stints with the Lightning, Devils and Capitals this decade – but his mind and hockey IQ has been best put to use with the Oates Sports Group, of which he is the CEO.
Jack Eichel, Mark Scheifele, Steven Stamkos, Blake Wheeler, James van Riemsdyk, Max Pacioretty and Zach Parise are among the many NHL stars to have worked individually with Oates and his group.
“Working with Oatsey has helped me take my game to another level,” van Riemsdyk said in a testimonial on the Oates Sports Group’s website. “His attention to details of the game is second to none and his ability to explain and translate my skills into my game has had a huge impact.”
Pacioretty added: “Since the first time I spoke with Oatsey, I knew there was no one in the world that saw the game like him. Every time we talk or we get on the ice, I know that I have improved as a hockey player. I have so much more confidence knowing that I have the smartest hockey mind in the world helping me improve my game. I am addicted to trying to become a better hockey player, and I know working with Adam Oates is the best way to do that.”
The Kings currently have a league-worst 4-8-1 record and are averaging a league-low 2.15 goals per game through 13 outings, so it will be fascinating to see how Oates’s presence might impact the struggling team.