Almas shined in post-war AHL

As part of the commemoration of the American Hockey League’s 70th anniversary this season, will be taking a look at some of the legendary careers that have been carved in the AHL over the last seven decades.

Ralph “Red” Almas was one of the top goaltenders in the AHL during his era, playing for the Indianapolis Capitals, St. Louis Flyers and Buffalo Bisons over eight seasons.

Almas played his junior hockey in his native Saskatoon, Sask., but his career was put on hold as he spent two years in the Canadian military during World War II.

Almas had an impressive rookie season in 1946-47, posting a record of 33-18-13 while appearing in all 64 games for Indianapolis. Just before the last game of the NHL season, and with the Capitals already finished and out of playoff contention, Almas got the call from the Detroit Red Wings to replace injured starter Harry Lumley.

Almas made his NHL debut on Mar. 23, 1947, and led the Wings into their first-round playoff series against Toronto. He was back in the AHL in 1947-48, going 30-28-6 for the Capitals, but Almas was traded to the Chicago Black Hawks organization that offseason as Detroit made room for 20-year-old rookie Terry Sawchuk in Indy.

Almas took off with the St. Louis Flyers in 1948-49, winning a career-high 39 games, leading the club to a West Division title and earning a berth among the AHL’s Second Team All-Stars. Almas played five seasons in St. Louis, getting two more chances to play in the NHL (one game with Chicago, and one more with Detroit).

In 1953-54, Almas closed out his AHL career by playing nine games for the Buffalo Bisons. He remains one of the winningest goaltenders in league history, ranking seventh all-time with 218 career victories.

Career AHL Statistics – Ralph “Red” Almas
Regular Season Playoffs
Season Team GP Record SO GAA GP Record SO GAA
1946-47 Indianapolis Capitals 64 33-18-3 3 3.36
1947-48 Indianapolis Capitals 65 30-28-6 0 3.78
1948-49 St. Louis Flyers 66 39-18-9 5 2.86 7 3-4 0 2.84
1949-50 St. Louis Flyers 55 29-21-5 4 3.31 2 0-2 0 5.00
1950-51 St. Louis Flyers 70 32-34-4 3 3.52
1951-52 St. Louis Flyers 68 28-39-1 2 3.83
1952-53 St. Louis Flyers 53 23-29-1 1 3.75
1953-54 Buffalo Bisons 9 4-5-0 0 5.00
AHL Totals 450 218-192-39 18 9 3-6 0