Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Mike Karakas
Mike Karakas was the first American-born goalie to star in the NHL. He was lauded for having one of the quickest glove hands in hockey along with outstanding balance. In eight NHL seasons he recorded 28 shutouts and a goals against average of 2.82. Karakas recorded three blank sheets in the post-season and was considered at his best in key games. He handled the puck well and was always quick to credit his defence after a strong game.

A native of Aurora, Minnesota, Karakas joined the Chicago Black Hawks in 1935-36 after apprenticing with the Chicago Shamrocks, St. Louis Flyers and Tulsa Oilers. He was awarded the Calder Memorial trophy after posting a 1.92 goals-against mark and nine shutouts. Two years later he recorded a pair of playoff shutouts while leading the Hawks to an unexpected Stanley Cup championship after finishing with a losing record in the regular season. This achievement was even greater considering Karakas missed the first two games with a broken toe and eventually led the Hawks to their triumph wearing a cast.

Karakas returned to the NHL in 1943-44 after starring with the Providence Reds of the AHL. Earlier he was the hero when the Reds won the Calder Cup in 1941. He led all NHL netminders with four shutouts in 1944-45 and was a post-season selection to the NHL second all-star team. He retired from the NHL following the 1945-46 season but continued to perform heroics in net for Providence until the conclusion of the 1948-49 season.

The talented Minnesotan recorded 114 career regular season wins and helped lead the way for future American born and trained goalkeepers. During his six NHL seasons he appeared in every one of Chicago's games and earned the nickname "Iron Mike". Karakas' immense contribution to the game in his native country was recognized when he was named as an original member of the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP W L T SO Avg GP W L T SO Avg
1929-30 Eveleth Rangers CHL
1930-31 Chicago Shamrocks AHA 8 5 2 0 0 2.21
1931-32 Chicago Shamrocks AHA 45 29 11 5 9 1.59 4 3 1 0 0 2.48
1932-33 St. Louis Flyers AHA 43 23 19 1 5 1.89 4 2 2 0 1 1.27
1933-34 Tulsa Oilers AHA 48 23 25 0 7 2.26 4 2 2 0 1 1.62
1934-35 Tulsa Oilers AHA 41 20 17 4 4 1.52 2 0 2 0 0 3.69
1935-36 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 48 21 19 8 9 1.85 2 1 1 0 0 3.50
1936-37 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 48 14 27 7 5 2.64
1937-38 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 48 14 25 9 1 2.80 8 6 2 2 1.71
1938-39 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 48 12 28 8 5 2.65
1939-40 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 17 7 9 1 0 3.31
1939-40 Providence Reds AHL 14 7 5 2 1 3.00 8 6 2 0 2 2.31
1939-40 Montreal Canadiens NHL 5 0 4 1 0 3.48
1940-41 Providence Reds AHL 56 31 21 4 0 2.97 4 1 3 0 0 2.60
1941-42 Providence Reds AHL 56 17 32 7 1 4.10
1941-42 New Haven Eagles AHL 1 0 1 0 0 7.00
1941-42 Springfield Indians AHL 3 0 2 0 0 2.63
1942-43 Providence Reds AHL 56 27 27 2 2 3.78 2 0 2 0 0 3.23
1943-44 Providence Reds AHL 24 6 15 3 0 3.63
1943-44 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 26 12 9 5 3 3.04 9 4 5 1 2.62
1944-45 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 48 12 29 7 4 3.90
1945-46 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 48 22 19 7 1 3.46 4 0 4 0 6.50
1946-47 Providence Reds AHL 62 21 31 10 0 4.29
1947-48 Providence Reds AHL 2 1 1 0 0 3.50
NHL Totals 336 114 169 53 28 2.91 23 11 12 0 3 3.01


AHA First All-Star Team (1935)
NHL - Rookie of the Year (1936)
AHL First All-Star Team (1941)
AHL Second All-Star Team (1943)
NHL Second All-Star Team (1945)
Signed as a free agent by Chicago, October 28, 1935.
Suspended by Chicago for remainder of 1939-40 season after refusing assignment to Providence (AHL), December 30, 1939.
Suspension lifted by NHL President Frank Calder and rights loaned to Montreal for remainder of 1939-40 season after Montreal goaltender Wilf Cude suffered shoulder injury, February 23, 1940. Traded to Providence (AHL) by Chicago for cash, May 14, 1940. Traded to Chicago by Providence (AHL) for Hec Highton, Gord Buttrey and $10,000, January 7, 1944.