Edmonton inks faceoff specialist

Updated: November 18, 2003, 10:01 AM ET
Associated Press

EDMONTON, Alberta -- Adam Oates returned to the NHL on Monday, signing a one-year, $1.95 million contract with the Edmonton Oilers as unrestricted free agent.

Adam Oates

"For the last couple of months I didn't think it was going to happen, but the last couple of weeks my agent started getting a lot of calls," Oates told The Canadian Press. "And Edmonton showed some significant interest and I'm really excited to be part of it."

The 41-year-old center became a free agent June 30 when Anaheim decided not to pick up his $3.5 million option for this season.

"Financially, it's fine, I'm happy about that," Oates said. "But I also think the Oilers are a really good team and it's the type of team I'd like to go to.

"Hopefully I can add to what they have -- hopefully my skills will add to that lineup."

Oates had nine goals and 36 assists in 45 games for the Mighty Ducks last season, down from 68 points with Washington the season before. The 18-year NHL veteran has 1,402 points, including 1,063 assists, in 1,277 career games.

"Adam is a world-class passer, and is one of the best faceoff specialists in the history of the game," Oilers general manager Kevin Lowe said. "This is a rare opportunity for us to acquire one of the best offensive talents in the history of the game."

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press