A tremendous playmaking center and smooth skater, Edgar Laprade was one of the NHL's best forwards during the late 1940s. Blessed with exceptional lateral mobility and an effortless skating style, he was a brilliant penalty killer and determined checker. Laprade could also score and was one of the league's most dangerous skaters on the counterattack. Unfortunately, many of his exploits took place when he played for a New York Rangers franchise that was in decline.
During the war years, Laprade played with the Bearcats and led the Thunder Bay Senior League in scoring in 1941 and 1942. In 1939 and 1941 the popular star was presented with the Gerry Trophy as the league's top performer. In 1941 the city of Port Arthur held a special night in honour of Laprade and his brother Burt, who was also a popular local sports figure. Following the Bearcats' season in 1943, Laprade joined the Canadian Forces and suited up for the Montreal RCAF team. After a transfer to Winnipeg in 1944, he played for the army club in that city's services hockey league.
The New York Rangers first placed Laprade on their negotiation list in 1938. Despite their efforts - and those of the Montreal Canadiens, who were also pursuing him - the crafty forward didn't make his NHL debut with New York until 1945-46. Laprade was worth the wait and was quickly nicknamed "Beaver" by his colleagues as a tribute to his industrious work ethic. The league was equally impressed and presented him with the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year.
Following the 1948-49 season, he shared the Rangers MVP award with netminder Charlie Rayner. Laprade captured the award outright the next year after leading the team with 22 goals and 44 points. Always a clean player, he also won the Lady Byng Trophy in 1950. Three times, Laprade managed to go an entire season without drawing a single penalty.
It was in the 1950 playoffs that Laprade came closest to a Stanley Cup win. In the finals, the Blueshirts faced a Detroit team that was minus star forward Gordie Howe. Laprade scored three goals in the series, but New York lost a heartbreaker when Pete Babando scored in overtime of the seventh game. Laprade retired briefly in 1952-53 but returned to play on a line with Max Bentley the following season.
Laprade retired for good in 1955 after recording 280 career points. He took his place in the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 1982 as a player and in 1983 as a member of the 1939 Bearcats Allan Cup team. Laprade was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1993 in the veteran player category.