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02-10-2012, 08:39 PM
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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.

Originally Posted by
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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