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02-10-2012, 08:39 PM
  #128
seventieslord
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Steve Kraftcheck, D



Kraftcheck might have the best career of any AHL defenseman. He had the career points record for decades, and he was a six-time all-star from 1956 through 1961, a time when NHL replacement level players were at an all-time high, and being an AHL all-star really meant something. This includes three first team selections in 1958, 1959, and 1960, and his Eddie Shore trophy as the league's top defenseman in 1959.

He had 9 AHL seasons in which he had at least 33 points. This includes points finishes of 1st, 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 5th.

A record like this tells me that Kraftcheck should have been in the NHL these seasons, even if as a #3-4, even if on an average team. He was probably hockey's 20th-best blueliner in his prime, or even better than that. At the very least, it's a reasonable assumption that Kraftcheck was the best north american blueliner not in the NHL regularly at this time. In a modern 30-team NHL, he might be as good as a perrennial #2-3 defenseman. And all those guys were drafted long ago.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ahlhalloffame.com
Steve Kraftcheck was known as one of the smartest and steadiest defensemen in American Hockey League history. He retired in 1964 as the AHL's all-time leading scorer among blueliners with 453 points, a standard that would hold up for more than four decades.

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