In a sign of the unlikely way that he has found a niche in the NHL one of the best trivia nuggets about his is that Craig Adams was drafted in a round that doesn't exist anymore, to a team that doesn't exist anymore. The Hartford Whalers took Adams 223rd overall in 1996 in the 9th round (the NHL has since reduced the draft to seven rounds). It's so fitting that Adams has bucked the odds along the way to now be on his way to setting a franchise record for the Pittsburgh Penguins this week.
Tonight against the Vancouver Canucks, Adams will be in the lineup for the 313th straight time, which ties former captain Ron Schock for the most all-time in franchise history.
The longevity of Adams is astounding. Since the Pens claimed him in March 2009 off of waivers from the Chicago Blackhawks, he's only missed 2 games October 15-16, 2010. Other than that, he's played every game that the Pens have. In 407 games as a Pittsburgh Penguin Adams only has 18 goals and 48 assists and has a plus/minus of -35.
And yet, he's still found a niche and has regularly been one of the top penalty killers on the team. His leadership, smarts, toughness, checking and grit - all attributes fans like to laugh at, have been in demand to keep getting contracts and keep getting his name on the lineup list every. single. game no matter the coach or general manager.
So, at some point, you have to give the devil his due. Craig Adams is probably one of the worst hockey players in the league, and in another ironic twist, he plays on one of the best and most skilled teams. At age 37 he's lasted a long time in the league, and on this team. Seriously, how many veteran 4th liners even stay on the same time for 6 years in a row? Not many.
Adams has built a career on the unlikely and against long odds has carved out a stable place in the Pens lineup. And as of next game, Adams will put his name and leave a lasting legacy, believe it or not, in the record books of the storied history of the Pittsburgh Penguins.