For those of us that follow the American Hockey League, we are lucky to be graced by one of the all time greats to have played in the league.
As a Toronto Marlies fan I had the pleasure of watching this gentleman play in the AHL during the lockout season, where even against stronger AHL teams (due to the aforementioned lockout) he racked up 37 points in 34 outings, at times looking a class apart.
Upon the lockout ending he failed to clear waivers and ended up with the New York Islanders, his third NHL team.
Picked up by the St Louis Blues, he didn’t make the cut and was sent down to play with the maverick Chicago Wolves this season.
Who am I talking about?
Now 35 years old, he has racked up some pretty impressive personal milestones and achievements in twelve AHL seasons.
Aucoin hasn’t had the easy ride in his career. Un-drafted, he spent his junior years with Norwich University of the NCAA III.
His first year of pro included time in the now disbanded UHL with the B.C Iceman, a solitary game with the Florida Everblades (ECHL) and a promising thirty game stint with the Lowell Lock Monsters.
From there he never looked back.
During his AHL Career, he’s dressed for Lowell Lock Monsters, Providence Bruins, Cincinnati Mighty Ducks, Albany River Rats, Hershey Bears before a move to Toronto and then the Chicago Wolves.
Stints in the NHL have amounted to a total of 143 games and accruing 48 points.
His longest spell in the top league coming last season with the New York Islanders for whom he played 41 regular season games and 6 in the post season as they just fell short against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round.
Four years with Hershey were his most successful from a team point of view, as they were AHL Calder Cup Champions in 2008/09 and 2009/2010.
The second of those Championship seasons came with a momentous personal accomplishment for Aucoin.
He would win the AHL Most Valuable Player (Les Cunningham) award as he broke the 100 point barrier during the regular season. In 72 games he recorded 35 goals/71 assists for a total of 106 points.
Now for some of more of his accomplishments.
An AHL All-Star four times, he was selected three straight seasons from 06/07-08/09.
More of a playmaker than a goal scorer, it’s no surprise to see Aucoin is fifth in all-time AHL assists.
Tim Tookey may be 100 assists ahead right now but he also played 15 seasons whilst Aucoin is just in early stages of his 13th.
Starting this season tenth in all-time AHL points, Aucoin has already leapt up to ninth and is now just one point shy of climbing up another spot and ten points away from taking seventh position.
They say the play-offs is where the best players shine and Aucoin sits equal 13th in all-time AHL play-off leaders in points.
A mere ten points behind Bob Solinger in seventh position, another run at the post season will see him move further up these standings.
For as long as he keeps playing Keith Aucoin will continue to break records.
He may not be the biggest, the strongest or the fastest player ever to grace the ice but his playmaking, vision and eye for a pass is a joy to watch and I hope he continues to play for a while yet.