Thread: ATD 2010 Bios
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04-01-2010, 11:34 AM
  #145
seventieslord
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With the 519th pick in ATD2010, The Regina Pats are absolutely delighted to select:

Eddie Oatman, F/D/Rover (mostly RW)



- 5'8", 155 lbs
- Stanley Cup (1912)
- Stanley Cup Finalist (1916, 1922, 1924)
- Top-10 in Goals in his league (OPHL, NHA, PCHA) 10 times (3rd, 4th, 5th, 5th, 6th, 6th, 7th, 7th, 8th, 10th)
- Top-10 in Assists in his league 13 times (1st, 1st, 3rd, 3rd, 3rd, 4th, 4th, 5th, 6th, 6th, 8th, 9th, 9th)
- Top-10 in Points in his league 12 times (3rd, 3rd, 4th, 4th, 6th, 6th, 7th, 7th, 7th, 7th, 8th, 10th)
- Top-10 in PIM in his league 11 times (2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 3rd, 5th, 5th, 5th, 7th, 8th, 10th, 10th)
- On pace for 3rd in Goals, 1st in Assists, 3rd in points in 1917 NHA before 228th Battallion's season was cut short (finished 8th, 3rd, 7th, included above)
- 1st or 2nd on his team in scoring in 10 of 11 seasons from 1910-1920 (5X 1st, 5X 2nd)
- PCHA 1st All-Star Team (1914, 1915, 1916)
- PCHA 1st/2nd All Star Team 7 other seasons (1913, 1918, 1919, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923)
- OPHL 1st All-Star Team (1910)
- According to The Trail, 12th in pre-merger goals, behind Lalonde, Malone, Denneny, Pitre, Smith, Bowie, Nighbor, Cleghorn, Dunderdale, Foyston, and Roberts.
- Very consistent player. Along with Mickey MacKay, Oatman is the only player to play 5+ PCHA seasons and have 15+ points in each of them.
- 203 Goals, 106 Assists, 309 Points in 320 top-level games
- 6 goals, 2 assists, 8 Points in 21 top-level playoff games
- Career continued for 6 more seasons in American pro leagues AHA & CAHL, then played until 1939 in Saskatchewan and Duluth, retiring at age 50.
- Was captain of six pro teams

Quote:
Originally Posted by SIHR
Professional hockey may be the most physically challenging of all sports.The strenuous leg exertion - the grueling player contact - the playing arena coldness - the ice hardness, all takes their toll on the player. The professional career is fewer than a dozen years. Bobby Hull's 20-year career is exceptional. To play 32 years in the demanding sport should be impossible, yet that is the extraordinary accomplishment of Eddie Oatman.

While there is relatively little known about his personal life, the Internet did reveal information about his hockey career. Though Eddie never played in the National Hockey League, he was among the elite goal scorers of his era. During his 32 years playing professional ice hockey, Eddie was picked 10 straight seasons as an all-star with the Pacific Coast Hockey Association. He was a star with the Quebec Bulldogs when it won the 1912 Stanley Cup. Eddie played with clubs that won five league championships, and he was a successful coach and captain of five different hockey teams.

...He signed with New Westminster Royals. In the 1914-15 season, he was named to the PCHA all-star team. The Royals became the Portland Rosebuds and Eddie became the team captain. The following year, he also was its coach and was an all-star again when the club won the league championship. However, the Montreal Canadians won their first Stanley Cup title beating Portland three games to two in a best-of-five playoff. With Portland's near victory over Montreal, expectations grew for their chances in the 1916-1917 season, but these hopes ended when Eddie enlisted in the Canadian armed forces as part of the 228th Battalion.

When the 228th Battalion secured a franchise in the NHA for the 1916-17 season, Oatman joined the roster. But when the 228th was sent to Europe for military action in the First World War, Oatman was discharged "for special circumstances." The following season Eddie went back to Portland, again as its coach and captain. When the Rosebuds suspended operations, Eddie joined the Victoria Aristocrats as their captain and remained with the team for the next five years. As result of another player's injury, he saw action with the Vancouver Millionaires when they lost the Stanley Cup to the Toronto St. Pats in 1922.

Eddie was traded to the Calgary Tigers in 1923-24. He helped the team win the Western Canada Hockey League title, but were denied a Stanley Cup championship when they again lost to the Montreal Canadiens. From 1924 to 1926, he was the Tigers' coach and captain, leading them to back-to-back championships in 1924 and 1925. Unfortunately, pro hockey collapsed in the West after the 1925-26 season, but he continued to play minor-league hockey. Eddie was the team captain of the Minneapolis, Minnesota, club in the American League in 1927. Then, for the next three years, he played for the Boston Tigers in the Canadian-American League (1928-1930), and as their captain led them to the league championship in the 1929. In 1931, he played as captain for the Buffalo Majors in the American League. He later served as a player-coach in Yorkton, Prince Albert and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, until his hockey-playing career ended when he was 50.

Eddie died 24 years later in 1973 at age 74. Although hockey was his life, Eddie was a barber by trade and found time to marry and have one son. There is a triangular stone for him at the Springford Cemetery, Oxford County, Ontario, where he is buried next to his brother Russ. He was also the subject of a Ripley's "Believe It Or Not" article for playing 32 years in professional hockey and is featured on at least two trading cards.

Following his death, Ed's family tried unsuccessfully to have him inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Trail Of the Stanley Cup, Vol. 1
...He played a few games on defense with Ernie Johnson and then took over his regular RW spot with ******** and *******. The next year playing rover and RW with the Royals, he made the PCHA All-Star team, in spite of being out two weeks with a broken toe. The team was moved to Portland where he repeated on the All-Star team when the Rosebuds won the championship but failed to win the cup... When the 228th Battallion secured an NHA franchise, Oatman was in the lineup and although their best player, earned some unfavourable publicity when the battallion went overseas... he returned to Portland where he played Rover... had four years with Victoria playing rover and RW, and also did a spell on defense with Clem Loughlin... He outlasted his old teammates Joe Malone and **** ********. He was a first class player, numbered amongst the elite who scored over 200 goals.
Was Eddie Oatman a star?

Those who were there, frequently said he was.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toronto Star, February 16, 1910
Waterloo without Oatman is like a ship without a rudder.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anonymous poem dedicated to 1912 Quebec Bulldogs
...Eddie Oatman is a dandy, Eddie's heady and he's handy,
He is sure the real candy, as he more than once has shown...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toronto Star, October 25, 1912
Oatman is considered by many to be one of the best men in the N. H. A.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Trail Of the Stanley Cup, Vol. 1
Eddie Oatman, star rover of the New Westminster Royals...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toronto World, March 4, 1913
The Stanley Cup championship team had been riddled by the Western raid, losing three of its finest players, Prodgers, Oatman, and ********.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Montreal Daily Mail, November 16, 1913
Eddie Oatman, the clever forward who figured so prominently on the Portland club's lineupin the World Series agains the Canadiens last season...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultimate Hockey
Two top PCHA stars Eddie Oatman and Art Duncan had signed up... it started to look as if Oatman's real role with the 228th was as a ringer for the hockey club.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toronto Star, November 6, 1916
In Eddie Oatman, late of Portland, now with the 228th, and Gordon Keats, who will again be with Torontos, the local N.H.A. clubs have two of the best centre players in the game.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toronto World, November 22, 1916
According to Frank Patrick, the National Hockey Association, in signing Eddie Oatman and Art Duncan, has secured two of best players in hockey today... "Of Oatman, I have nothing but admiration. He is a wonderful player, and the fact that during his four years service on the coast he was selected as an all-star each season shows clearly that he is one of the stars of hockey."
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toronto World, November 30, 1916
Eddie Oatman, the Tillsonburg player, who has been performing on the Pacific Coast for a number of seasons, but who is now a member of the 228th Battallion, made his initial appearance and featured the practice with his work. To say that he will be one of the sensations of the NHA is no exaggeration. He is a natural hockey player, is very speedy, and has the weight to carry through the opposing defense.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toronto Star, December 9, 1916
Eddie Oatman, Who will play on the forward line for the 228th Battalion N. H. A. team this winter. He is one of the best forwards in the game.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Globe and Mail, November 4th, 1918
Eddie Oatman, former NHA star...
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Trail Of The Stanley Cup, Vol. 1
He was a first class player
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hockey Immortals: Commemorating the Formative Years of Canadian Professional Hockey
Lester Patrick, his coach for five years in Victoria said Oatman was one of the greatest players of his time. Frank Selke referred to Oatman as a gentleman and a fine team player.
How did Oatman play?

For the past few drafts we really haven't had much evidence in regards to Oatman's play and that was a big question mark on him as a pick. Thanks to some old newspaper research by overpass and myself of actual in-game descriptions, we finally have many clues. Oatman was a well-balanced offensive player who was probably a better playmaker than goalscorer. He was chippy and gritty, a very hard worker, responsible defensively, and he could skate and shoot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toronto Star, January 17, 1911
Oatman did a lot of fighting, and was finally chopped down by McNamara, the Renfrew captain. Both were chased to the ice box for the balance of the match, about ten minutes of playing time remaining.
Here's Oatman taking on a guy 3 inches taller and 35 pounds heavier:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Montreal Gazette, February 27, 1911
A fist fight marked the closing minutes of the game... Ross and Oatman were the principals... There had been considerable rough play preceding the trouble, and Oatman, who is no drawing-room player himself, was a mark for some hammering. Smaill bored in on Quebec, but was checked by Oatman, who got the puck, but Smaill didn't let him pass, and gave him the knee. Following this, Oatman was thrown agains the rail by Ross. This so enraged the Quebec player that he struck the Wanderer point with his stick. Ross tried to retaliate but was prevented. Both players were then disqualified... With Oatman in the lead, the unruly pair skated to the penalty box, and as Oatman started to mount the rail, Ross, angered at the crack he received, pulled off his glove and struck Oatman a hard blow over the eye with his bared fist... Oatman was eager to continue the fray, but peacemakers kept the two belligerents separated.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daily Telegraph, January 23, 1912
Eddie Oatman the Worker - Eddie Oatman is without a doubt the hardest worker in the league, and is effective. When Ottawas came down here a few weeks ago, he had **** played to a standstill and he did the same thing with Sprague Cleghorn last week, and last night he kept Payan guessing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toronto Star, December 11, 1912
Fred Taylor, the sensation of the N. H. A. for many years, stood out head and shoulders above every other player on the ice. Other players who showed exceptional class were: Eddie Oatman, late of Quebec, *****, of Winnipeg, and Si Griffis, the former Kenora player.
Look at the review of the 1913 NHA/PCHA All-Star Game. Seems Oatman was the only noteworthy western player on a team that featured Taylor and The Patricks:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Globe and Mail, March 27, 1913
Nighbor and Ross played a brilliant game for the Easterners, while Oatman was the only Westerner who played a good game.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toronto Star, February 8, 1913
In the last period Griffis and Oatman came together and both were sent off for ten minutes for fighting.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ottawa Citizen, December 13, 1913
Westminster's showing has been the surprise to date... The defense of Oatman and Johnson is one of the best ever seen at the coast.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toronto Star, December 17, 1915
As a sequel to the fistic battle which was staged between Cully Wilson, who had the reputation of being the “bad man” of hockey in the East last season, and Eddie Oatman in Seattle Tuesday night, a warning went out from the office of President Frank Patrick yesterday that a repetition of such a scene would bring down a suspension, with the possibility of a more drastic penalty... Wilson, of the Seattle club, and Oatman, of Portland, collided shortly after the opening of the final period, both being sent off for fifteen minutes each and fined. Several stitches were necessary to repare Wilson’s anatomy and Oatman’s head.
Quote:
Originally Posted by NY Times, March 26, 1916
Lalonde of the Montreal team and Johnson and Oatman of Portland were threatened with arrest for striking eachother with sticks and fists.
Quote:
Originally Posted by NY Times, April 5, 1916
Moose Johnson, with Oatman as his chief assistant, made many daring and spectacular raids on the Canadien cage.

Half a minute later Oatman stole up while the whole Canadien team was gathered up in a convention around the cage and jabbed the puck through with the point of his stick.
Some interesting quotes from an article following a game between the 228th Battallion and a team of NHA all-stars:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toronto World, December 18, 1916
At the end of the game, when you would have expected to see the overworked regulars show signs of tiring, it looked as though they could have left Oatman, ******, and a goalie on the ice and still played rings around the all-stars... The Blueshirts were called the all-stars, probably because Lalonde, Pitre, and ***** journeyed upon from the east to don skates... Oatman and ****** were the pick of the soldiers. The way those boys went down made the fans gasp. Each scored three goals. Oatman gets back with his man faster than ******* does, and that's saying a lot... Oatman went through the whole team to score 228th's fifth... ***** went down for a shot on ********, then Oatman took it all the way back and scored.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toronto Star, January 4, 1917
Randall and Oatman tried to compete for the “Bad Man” championship held for so many years by Joe Hall. They only succeeded in getting in wrong with everybody. The public likes good, hard, square body-checking, but not slashing and chopping, and cross-checking with the stick.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toronto Star, January 8, 1917
Oatman and G. McNamara each accounted for two, while Arbour and Prodgers bulged the twine on passes from Oatman…Scoring six goals for his team, “Goldie” Prodgers was the star of the evening. He was closely followed by Eddie Oatman
Quote:
Originally Posted by Montreal Daily Mail, January 11, 1917
For the Soldiers, Eddie Oatman stood out among the remainder of the team, except ********. Oatman's stickhandling was first rate, but he received little to no support from his wings.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toronto Star, Feb 8, 1917
Noble and ******* outlasted their checks and were going great guns at the finish. For the soldiers, Oatman played a horse of a game. He did a prodigious amount of work and was always dangerous.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toronto Star, January 23, 1919
With but 51 seconds separating the two clubs from an overtime contest, Eddie Oatman, the leader of the visitors, snagged a pass from Dunderdale and banged the rubber past Goaler C. Holmes for the point that won the fastest battle of the year.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toronto Star, March 18, 1922
Eddie Oatman and Ernie Parkes did the relief work, and both were good. Oatman has speed and a shot.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toronto Star, March 24, 1922
The Cameron-Oatman argument was certainly a dandy while it lasted. Oatman smothered a Cameron rush rather rudely, and the Irish defenser objected by clouting Oatman one in the ribs. Oatman raced at him, knocked him down, and then patted him on the head with his stick, raising a hickey about the size of a powder puff. The coast boy was inclined to (parcel?) more of Cammy’s sparse hair when Noble horned in with a cross-check behind Oatman’s ear that laid him flat on the ice. Referee Smeaton, who is a husky chap, tossed Noble to one side and waved the original battlers to the bench for a 10-minute term and fined them $15 each.

Duncan and Randall were already in the skookum house for mussing each other about a bit, so that left it four a side. With the ice cleared the coast people had lots of room to manoeuvre in, and they kept Roach as busy as a one-armed paperhanger in flytime, but they did not get one by until 18 minutes had passed and sides were normal again. Oatman got that one. The Irish were thoroughly beaten at this point and just filled in the time... Adams and Skinner and Oatman were the firebrands of the forward line, and the all played swell hockey...
And a few quotes from when Oatman was a 41-year old man playing in Buffalo. He was still a prominent player, and the leader of the team.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicago Daily Tribune, December 26, 1930
The Buffaloes made it 3-0 when St. John rammed one home after taking a pass from Oatman.

...a few seconds later, Oatman sought to use his blade on Timmins...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicago Daily Tribune, January 12, 1931
Oatman broke away from a melee mid-rink and skated into the Green defense, where Mulligan and Headley bodychecked him. Clayton came racing back, bumping Eddie out of a falling posture to a skating position, and Eddie went through to pick it up in front of Timmins. It was a simple matter to score as timmins lurched out to smother the shot.

Two minutes later again oatman came down and went to the side, passing back to Heyd on the other side. Heyd made a short pass to St. John, and he likewise fired it in.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Montreal Gazette, November 18, 1931
Coach Eddie Oatman, a star in the old Pacific Coast League days and still able to hold his own as a defenseman
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Press, February 4, 1935
Eddie Oatman ought to be qualifying one of these days as a veteran hockey player. He's in his 26th season as a professional puckster. But he can still handle that disc in the St. Paul central league.
Oatman's Legacy

Oatman was already touted as the longest-playing pro player ever, but this Chicago newspaper wasn't aware he was still playing in Saskatchewan. At this point, he still had three years to go:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicago Daily Tribune, December 19, 1936
The longest hockey career on record is attributed to Eddie Oatman, who started as an amteur in (1907) and finished with St. Paul in 1935.
Oatman's not in the Hall. Is he just a guy who played with a bunch of hall of famers?

Far from it. Oatman was considered a star in his own right, and he had remarkably little support from other HHOF forwards, so he is in fact the complete opposite of "a guy who played with a bunch of hall of famers". See the below chart indicating how often all of the HHOF PCHA forwards and rovers (and Bernie Morris, because we all know he is as good as those guys) played on the same team as eachother: (need to play 10 games to be considered a "season played")

I did not include Jack Walker. Despite being in the HHOF, he was not an offensive catalyst and he would only skew the results of the other HHOF players in this chart. Ditto Jimmy Gardner who played one PCHA season with Oatman at the end of his career, in which he had 7 points. Tommy Dunderdale's 1923 season is also excluded as he was at the end, scoring 2 goals in 27 games as a sub. All other "eligible seasons" counted saw the player score at least 9 points, 70 of the 78 with 15+ so these are all good seasons by good players we are talking about. Harry Hyland is excluded simply because he had no effect on the other players - he played one PCHA season with no HHOF help.

Name Elig. Seasons TD EO FFo MM BM CT BS FFr JA GR FB FN DP NL TP DI Total Help from HHOFers Per Season Incl. Oatman
Gord Roberts 3 0 0 1 1 1 2 2 0 1 N/A 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 2.7 2.7
Barney Stanley 4 0 0 0 4 0 4 N/A 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 10 2.5 2.5
Frank Nighbor 2 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 N/A 1 0 0 0 4 2.0 2.0
Didier Pitre 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 N/A 0 0 0 2 2.0 2.0
Cyclone Taylor 8 0 0 0 5 0 N/A 4 0 1 2 0 2 1 0 0 0 15 1.9 1.9
Mickey MacKay 9 0 0 0 N/A 0 5 4 0 2 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 15 1.7 1.7
Jack Adams 3 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 0 N/A 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 1.3 1.3
Bernie Morris 8 1 0 7 0 N/A 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 9 1.1 1.1
Frank Boucher 2 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 N/A 0 0 0 0 0 2 1.0 1.0
Neswy Lalonde 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 N/A 1 0 1 1.0 1.0
Tommy Phillips 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 N/A 0 1 1.0 1.0
Dick Irvin 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 N/A 1 1.0 1.0
Eddie Oatman 10 6 N/A 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 9 0.9 0.9
Frank Foyston 9 0 0 N/A 0 7 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 0.9 0.9
Frank Fredrickson 4 2 3 0 0 0 0 0 N/A 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0.5 1.3
Tommy Dunderdale 11 N/A 6 0 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 0.4 0.9

The list is sorted by number of HHOF forward teammates per season (that column does not include seasons with Oatman as a teammate; the next column does). Dunderdale had the least help among these players, with "only" Oatman to get him the puck most years. Frank Fredrickson had the second least, with just two seasons of Dunderdale, plus Oatman. If you include Oatman as someone who "helped" Dunderdale and Fredrickson (and you should), then Oatman, with 0.9 top players up front per season, had the least offensive help throughout his PCHA career, along with Dunderdale and Foyston.

How much did Dunderdale help Oatman?

Tommy Dunderdale and Eddie Oatman played together for six seasons. Dunderdale and Oatman were born just two years apart so they were at fairly the same points developmentally in the years that they played together. Here are their combined stats from those six seasons:

NameGPGAPts
Dunderdale 1268137118
Oatman 1195956115

Dunderdale was scoring 30% more goals per game than Oatman, but Oatman was also getting 60% more assists per game than Dunderdale. Oatman actually had a slightly higher points-per-game average.

Furthermore, aside from 1912, when there were no assists recorded, the PCHA gave out assists at the rate of 0.47 per goal. This put playmakers like Oatman at a disadvantage as far as point production went - one's point production would be heavily driven by their goalscoring, not their playmaking. Oatman was a much better playmaker than goalscorer, and Dunderdale the opposite. This is what the stats of two players like this might have looked like in modern times, with closer to 1.5 assists given out per goal:

NameGPGAPts
Dunderdale 12681111192
Oatman 11959168227

Then, would you be so sure of who the better player was?

Oatman's place in PCHA History

Oatman played on some mediocre teams, but it's been shown that he was still known as a star individually and he did not leech off of his HHOF linemate. He was a tough little player with good skills and known as a leader, team player and hard worker. Offensively, how did his PCHA numbers shake out when all was said and done?

Name GP G A Pts PIM GPG APG PPG Best 5 G Best-5 A Best-5 Pts
Cyclone Taylor 130 159 104 263 65 1.22 0.80 2.02 1, 1, 1, 2, 2 1, 1, 1, 1, 1 1, 1, 1, 1, 1
Tommy Dunderdale 241 194 60 254 494 0.80 0.25 1.05 1, 1, 1, 3, 6 3, 4, 5, 6, 6 1, 1, 3, 3, 5
Smokey Harris 252 156 90 246 416 0.62 0.36 0.98 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 1, 1, 2, 2, 4 1, 2, 3, 4, 7
Mickey MacKay 192 159 82 241 193 0.83 0.43 1.26 1, 1, 2, 5, 6 1, 2, 2, 2, 4 2, 2, 2, 3, 5
Bernie Morris 167 155 76 231 137 0.93 0.46 1.38 1, 2, 2, 2, 4 1, 2, 2, 2, 3 1, 2, 2, 2, 4
Frank Foyston 202 174 53 227 133 0.86 0.26 1.12 1, 1, 2, 3, 4 5, 5, 7, 8, 11 2, 3, 3, 4, 4
Eddie Oatman 195 129 81 210 278 0.66 0.42 1.08 3, 3, 4, 5, 6 1, 3, 4, 4, 5 3, 3, 4, 4, 6
Jack Walker 186 82 58 140 31 0.44 0.31 0.75 4, 7, 9, 9, 11 3, 4, 4, 4, 6 4, 8, 9, 9, 10
Frank Fredrickson 105 93 46 139 83 0.89 0.44 1.32 1, 3, 4, 4, DNP 1, 2, 2, 3, DNP 1, 2, 2, 3, DNP

This list is sorted by career points. Note that Oatman falls just short of Frank Foyston in this category, but 50% ahead of the next-highest, Jack Walker, a hall of famer.

Playmaking was Oatman's specialty. Check out the assists per game column. Note that Oatman is well behind Cyclone Taylor, along with everyone else, but right there with Bernie Morris, the 2nd-best offensive player in PCHA history, Mickey MacKay, a bonafide superstar, and Frank Fredrickson, another HHOFer who played probably his four best seasons in the PCHA and none of his declining years. Oatman is also the only one whose stats include some games played as a defenseman, which assumedly hindered his production somewhat.

Don't forget Oatman starred for 4 seasons in the east, too

Don't make the mistake of labelling Oatman as mediocre because he's 7th all-time in PCHA points. When you factor in his seasons played in the east, his career totals don't look much different from two bonafide HHOFers and top-200 picks, Mickey MacKay and Frank Foyston.

Their career paths are pretty similar. They all started in the east, (Foyston had 3 NHA seasons, MacKay none, Oatman 2 plus one in the OPHL) then went to the PCHA for the league's duration (Oatman was with the 228th for one of those years) then went to the WCHL/WHL when the PCHA was done with. MacKay and Foyston then played in the NHL. All three of them played their last top-level pro game between the ages of 35y10mo and 37y2mo. All had a period of decline that hurt their career average as they aged. Here are their career totals, counting all top-level pro games played: (OPHL, NHA, PCHA, WCHL, WHL, NHL)

Name GP G A Pts GPG APG PPG
Oatman 344 206 102 308 0.60 0.31* 0.895*
Mackay 394 242 111 353 0.61 0.28 0.896
Foyston 361 240 81 321 0.66 0.22 0.889

* Oatman's APG average is based on 330 GP, not 344, as he played 14 games in the OPHL where assists were not recorded. His PPG average does include those games though.

Oatman's only a hair below MacKay (2%) in career goal output per-game, and about 10% above in assists per game. Foyston scored goals about 10% better than either of them, but MacKay and Oatman had 27% and 41% more assists per game than him. The points per game stat is favourable to goal scorers when talking about oldtimers; in modern times with assists more abundant, Oatman just may have led the group in points per game.

It's time Oatman got the respect he deserves. We'll take him as a 4th liner over anyone. The criticisms of the past are debunked - he was not a nondescript player, he was known as a star. Contemporaries spoke highly of him. We now know how he played. He was maybe not quite a hall of famer, but his career numbers stack up pretty well with some hall of famers. And he didn't play with hall of famers, rather, he played against them much more often.

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