Flashback: When Neil Smith Didn’t Pull The Trigger On An Adam Oates Trade

On February 7th, 1992, the St. Louis Blues traded Adam Oates to the Boston Bruins for center Craig Janney and Stefan Quintal. According to Behind The Moves, Neil Smith had a chance to add Oates to the Rangers team that won the Presidents Trophy that season.

“Ronnie Caron in St. Louis was a very impulsive GM. He called me one night and said, ‘I am going to trade Adam Oates. Are you interested?’ I said yeah, because we’d had him when I was recruiting in Detroit. He wanted to do the deal right away. He ended up trading Oates to Boston for Craig Janney…. But that was Ronnie. He made the snap decision. I had a trade done [with him]: Adam Oates and Paul Cavallini for Darren Turcotte and James Patrick, [but] I didn’t want to make a trade without the coach’s blessing. So I went in to Roger [Neilson,] and he was the opposite of an impulsive guy…. He figured that there must be something wrong with Oates; otherwise, why would they trade him?… To this day, obviously I should have [made the trade] but my coach didn’t want to do it. There are some GMs who don’t talk to the coach [about potential trades,] but in my way of doing things, I don’t want to give [my coach] an excuse for not winning. If I told Roger that he was going to get Adam Oates no matter what … then every time Adam Oates screwed up, he was going to look at me and say, ‘I can’t win with this guy. Why did you give me this guy? I told you I couldn’t win with this guy.’”

In November of 1993, the Rangers traded Turcotte and Patrick to get Steve Larmer, Nick Kypreos, Barry Richter and Hartford’s sixth round choice.