Most recently, Oates appeared in the Stanley Cup Finals as an assistant coach for the New Jersey Devils. He was given credit for the remarkable turnaround seen by the Devils power play in 2011-12 -- a unit that went from near-league worst to middle-of-the-road in just one season. He does not have head coaching experience at any professional level, but has served as an assistant for both the Devils and Lightning. Oates played for the Capitals from 1996 to 2002.
It's believed that Oates beat out former Chicago assistant coach Mike Haviland and Jon Cooper, the head coach of the AHL's Calder Cup Champion Norfolk Admirals, among others.
General manager George McPhee was expected to make a coaching decision this week as the team winds down from the NHL Draft and prepares for free agency. They've been without a coach -- really, without an entire coaching staff -- since Dale Hunter stepped down from the job on May 14. The Capitals legend was never comfortable after taking over in November 2011 for Bruce Boudreau and decided to return to coach the London Knights in the OHL.