Adam Graves

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Adam Graves
Graves in 2008
Born (1968-04-12) April 12, 1968 (age 49)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight 205 lb (93 kg; 14 st 9 lb)
Position Left Wing
Shot Left
Played for Detroit Red Wings
Edmonton Oilers
New York Rangers
San Jose Sharks
National team  Canada
NHL Draft 22nd overall, 1986
Detroit Red Wings
Playing career 1987–2003

Adam Scott Graves (born April 12, 1968) is a Canadian former professional hockey player. He is best known for his ten-year tenure with the New York Rangers. He also played for the Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers, and San Jose Sharks, and is a two-time Stanley cup winner. He finished his career with 329 goals and 287 assists, and is currently a New York Rangers special assistant with Prospect Development and Community Relations.[1]

Playing career[edit]

Adam Graves started playing Junior B hockey with King City, north of his birthplace in Toronto. Graves then joined the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League in 1985–86 and averaged over a point per game as a rookie in the OHL. He was drafted 22nd overall by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1986 NHL Entry Draft.

1986–87 was his breakout season, when he scored 45 goals for the Spitfires. He led his team to the OHL championship, the Memorial Cup tournament. In the 1987-88 season, Graves played primarily for the Spitfires, but was called up to play 9 games with Detroit.

The 1988-89 season would be Graves' first season as a National Hockey League regular. He played in 56 games for the Red Wings while splitting time with the Adirondack farm club, but was only able to score 7 goals. During his brief tenure with the Red Wings, he amassed 60 penalty minutes in 88-89, and 13 in 89-90. He was beginning to gain a reputation as a hard-nosed player.

On November 2, early in the next season, Graves was involved in a blockbuster trade with the Edmonton Oilers. Along with Graves, the Oilers received Petr Klima, Joe Murphy, and Jeff Sharples, in return for Jimmy Carson, Kevin McClelland, and Edmonton's fifth round draft pick in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft. The trade was lamented at the time in Edmonton - the high-scoring Klima had run-ins with the law and a history of substance abuse, Sharples was coming off a shoulder injury, and Murphy and Graves were considered to be underachievers given their high draft status.[2] Red Wings general manager Jim Devellano was reluctant to part with Graves, but felt that obtaining Detroit-area native Carson was worth it.[3] The trade paid immediate dividends for the Oilers, as Klima finished with 30 goals, while Graves and Murphy provided depth. Graves would go on to score 11 points in the playoffs, en route to defeating the Boston Bruins for the Edmonton Oilers' fifth Stanley Cup.

"It was such an excellent team atmosphere", said Graves of his two years with the Oilers. "We were together as any group of guys in the league. Everyone felt that they were a part of the team- no one felt left out. Because of that, even if you had a small role on the team, you were happy. You were glad to be able to give whatever little you could to the team. You did everything you could. I have many wonderful memories in my two years with the Oilers. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the team".

Graves played two seasons for the Oilers, before becoming a free agent at the end of the 1990-91 campaign. He then signed an offer sheet for 5 years and $2.44 million with the New York Rangers, where he joined other former Edmonton Oilers teammates Mark Messier and Jeff Beukeboom. Neil Smith, the general manager of the Rangers, was familiar with Graves, having earlier served as the Reed Wings Director of Scouting. In Graves' first season with the Rangers, he scored 26 goals, helping the team to a 105-point, Presidents' Trophy-winning season. Graves finished fifth in the voting for the Frank J. Selke Trophy for best defensive forward.

His skilled performance in the 1991-92 campaign was marred, however, when in the Patrick Division Finals vs the Pittsburgh Penguins, he viciously chopped Mario Lemieux's left hand with his stick. Lemieux suffered a fractured bone in his hand, and would miss the Penguins' next five games. Lemieux complained afterward that Graves and Rangers coach Roger Neilson had "engineered a hit" on him, and Graves was ultimately suspended for what turned out to be the Rangers' final three playoff games before being eliminated by the Penguins.

Although Graves' continued to improve in the 1992–93 season, tallying 36 goals and 65 points, the Rangers were unable to make the playoffs.

During the 1993–94 season Graves scored 52 goals, setting a New York Rangers' franchise record for most goals in a season. (Jaromir Jagr would score 54 in 2005-06). In the spring of 1994, Graves helped the Rangers win their first Stanley Cup since the 1939–40 season. Graves was awarded a roster spot on the NHL's second All-Star Team at the position of left wing, and was the recipient of the King Clancy Memorial trophy in recognition of his continuing work with charitable causes. Adam Graves is one of the seven alumni of the Oilers dynasty to win the Stanley Cup with the 1993-94 New York Rangers, along with Jeff Beukeboom, Glenn Anderson, Kevin Lowe, Craig MacTavish, Mark Messier, and Esa Tikkanen.

Graves remained productive during his tenure with the Rangers, being a consistent 20 to 30 goal scorer until the 1999-2000 campaign. Although the Rangers would not return to the hey-day of their 93-94 campaign, Adam Graves remained one of the team's most popular players. After winning the Bill Masterton Trophy in 2001, he was traded to the San Jose Sharks for Mikael Samuelsson and Christian Gosselin. Graves played with the Sharks organization for two years, tallying 49 total points, before announcing his retirement in April 2004.

Graves is now an instructor at the New York Rangers youth hockey camp.

Adam Graves won the NHL's most prized trophy and championship, The Stanley Cup, twice; in 1989–90 with the Edmonton Oilers and in 1993–94 with the New York Rangers. Graves also won a championship on the international level for his native Canada. In 1988 he was a member of the winning Canadian Junior team at the World Championships. In the tournament, Graves recorded 5 goals in 7 games. He was also given the honor to captain the 1993 World Championships in Munich, Germany. This time around Graves recorded 3 goals. Again in 1999, Graves represented Team Canada at the World Championships in Norway, scoring 7 points in 10 games.

Personal life[edit]

Graves grew up in Toronto with his parents Henry (a police officer) and Lynda Graves. Graves has two older sisters, Richenda and Lynette, as well as a younger adopted brother, Mark. The Graves family also took in as many as forty foster children.[4] He and his wife, Violet, are the parents of Madison, 20, Montana, 19, and Logan, 17.[5]

In popular culture[edit]

In the 1999 movie Big Daddy, Peter Dante is wearing what is obviously Graves's New York Rangers #9 jersey complete with the alternate captain emblem on the chest. The "G" and "S" were digitally removed for contractual reasons as the producers of the film wanted to avoid paying licensing rights for the use of Graves's jersey.


During the 1993–94 season Graves was awarded with the King Clancy Memorial Trophy which is given annually to the NHL player who best exemplifies leadership qualities or has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution to his community. Graves also won the NHL foundation award during the 1999–2000 season. This award is given annually to the player who applies core values of hockey, commitment and teamwork, to enrich the lives of people in the community.

During the 1991–92 season, 1992–93 season, 1993–94 season, 1998–99 season, and the 1999–2000 season Graves received the Steven McDonald Award. This award is given annually to the Rangers player who goes "above and beyond the call of duty", named after a paralyzed NYC police officer, Steven McDonald.

The Players' Player Award which is given to the best "team player" as voted on by the players was also won by Graves in 1991–92, 1992–93, 1994–95, and 1998–99. In the 1992–93, and 1993–94 seasons, Graves won the Rangers Most Valuable Player Award given to the Rangers most valuable player as voted on by the media. Also during the 1992–93 season Graves was given the "Rangers Good Guy" award. During the Rangers Stanley Cup winning season Graves was awarded the Frank Boucher Trophy given by the Rangers Fan Club given to the most popular player on and off the ice. Yet another fan club award Graves was awarded the "Rangers Fan Club Ceil Saidel Memorial Award" during the 1995–96, 1996–97, and 1999–2000 seasons. This award is for dedication on and off the ice.

1993 was a good year for Graves, as he was also awarded the "Crumb Bum Award" given annually for services to New York youngsters as voted on by the media. Another "Good Guy" award Graves won was The Sporting News "Good guy" award in 2000. Along with other professional athletes such as Al Leiter, Troy Aikman, and Terry Cummings this award was given to charitable and community service efforts. Graves is now an instructor at the New York Rangers youth hockey camp. He focuses on instilling pride in the youngsters attending the camp.

He also won the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy in the 2000–01 season.

On February 3, 2009, the New York Rangers retired Graves's Number #9 jersey before a game against the Atlanta Thrashers, joining fellow 1994 Stanley Cup champion teammates Brian Leetch, Mark Messier and Mike Richter, as well as Ranger greats Rod Gilbert and Eddie Giacomin in the rafters of Madison Square Garden.[6] Number #9 was also retired for Graves by his junior hockey team, the Windsor Spitfires.

In 2009, Graves was ranked No. 13 on the all-time list of New York Rangers in the book 100 Ranger Greats (John Wiley & Sons).

Graves also wrote the foreword for the bestselling book Odd Man Rush: A Harvard Kid's Hockey Odyssey from Central Park to Somewhere in Sweden—with Stops along the Way by Bill Keenan.

Awards and achievements[edit]

Career statistics[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1985–86 Windsor Spitfires OHL 62 27 37 64 35 16 5 11 16 10
1986–87 Windsor Spitfires OHL 66 45 55 100 70 14 9 8 17 32
1986–87 Adirondack Red Wings AHL 5 0 1 1 0
1987–88 Windsor Spitfires OHL 37 28 32 60 107 12 14 18 32 16
1987–88 Detroit Red Wings NHL 9 0 1 1 8
1988–89 Adirondack Red Wings AHL 14 10 11 21 28 14 11 7 18 17
1988–89 Detroit Red Wings NHL 56 7 5 12 60 5 0 0 0 4
1989–90 Detroit Red Wings NHL 13 0 1 1 13
1989–90 Edmonton Oilers NHL 63 9 12 21 123 22 5 6 11 17
1990–91 Edmonton Oilers NHL 76 7 18 25 127 18 2 4 6 22
1991–92 New York Rangers NHL 80 26 33 59 139 10 5 3 8 22
1992–93 New York Rangers NHL 84 36 29 65 148
1993–94 New York Rangers NHL 84 52 27 79 127 23 10 7 17 24
1994–95 New York Rangers NHL 47 17 14 31 51 10 4 4 8 8
1995–96 New York Rangers NHL 82 22 36 58 100 10 7 1 8 4
1996–97 New York Rangers NHL 82 33 28 61 66 15 2 1 3 12
1997–98 New York Rangers NHL 72 23 12 35 41
1998–99 New York Rangers NHL 82 38 15 53 47
1999–00 New York Rangers NHL 77 23 17 40 14
2000–01 New York Rangers NHL 82 10 16 26 77
2001–02 San Jose Sharks NHL 81 17 14 31 51 12 3 1 4 6
2002–03 San Jose Sharks NHL 82 9 9 18 32
NHL totals 1152 329 287 616 1224 125 38 27 65 119


See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Preceded by
Dave Poulin
Winner of the King Clancy Memorial Trophy
Succeeded by
Joe Nieuwendyk
Preceded by
Ken Daneyko
Bill Masterton Trophy winner
Succeeded by
Saku Koivu
Preceded by
Jan Erixon
Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award winner
1991–92 NHL season through
1993–94 NHL season
Succeeded by
Mark Messier
Preceded by
Wayne Gretzky
Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award winner
1998–99 NHL season through
1999–2000 NHL season
Succeeded by
Sandy McCarthy