Kraftcheck was a standout two-way defenseman

As part 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.

A perennial all-star, Steve Kraftcheck was a steady presence on the blue line for four AHL teams and today remains known as one of the top defensemen in league history.

He made his AHL debut with the Cleveland Barons in 1949 at the age of 20, and spent part of the 1950-51 season with the Indianapolis Capitals. Kraftcheck would play two years with the New York Rangers before returning to Cleveland and establishing himself as a fan favorite and a standout backliner.

Kraftcheck won Calder Cups with the Barons in 1954 and 1957, and was named to six consecutive postseason all-star teams, including First Team nods in 1957, 1958, 1959 and 1960. He won the Eddie Shore Award as the AHL’s outstanding defenseman in 1959.

Kraftcheck joined the Rochester Americans in 1958 and spent parts of three seasons as a player/coach for the Amerks, leading the club to the Calder Cup Finals in 1960.

Skating for Rochester in 1961, Kraftcheck passed the legendary Frank Mathers to become the AHL’s top assist man among defensemen, and when he retired in 1964 after two seasons with the Providence Reds, Kraftcheck was the AHL’s all-time leading scorer among defensemen with 453 career points, a mark that stood for more than four decades.

Career AHL Statistics – Steve Kraftcheck
Regular SeasonPlayoffs
1949-50Cleveland Barons707374446803312
1950-51Indianapolis Capitals47627333930002
1953-54Cleveland Barons705202562721310
1954-55Cleveland Barons60926353840220
1955-56Cleveland Barons575293440814510
1956-57Cleveland Barons63733404212211138
1957-58Cleveland Barons661534495370334
1958-59Rochester Americans60237394250224
1959-60Rochester Americans6814142471213412
1960-61Rochester Americans713374026
1959-60Rochester Americans6814142471213412
1961-62Rochester Americans69441454520002
1962-63Providence Reds69219212260222
1963-64Providence Reds6915622
AHL Totals83967386453524746313766