McDavid, Vasilevskiy among top picks in NHLPA Player Poll
The results of the annual NHLPA Player Poll are in, and while most of the responses were predictable, there were a few eyebrow-raising trends.
Many of the top picks went back-to-back. Patrick Kane again earned the most votes for best stick-handler, Leon Draisaitl repeated as the best passer, Marie-Philip Poulin was once again considered the best women's hockey player, and Montreal's Bell Centre remained the most popular choice as the arena with the best ice.
The full poll can be viewed here. The players responded to 14 questions in total, down from 15 in 2021-22. Here are some of the results:
If you need to win one game, who's the goalie you'd want on your team?
Vasilevskiy nabs most coveted goalie honors for the second straight year, increasing his vote share from 37.4% last season. Both the win and the increase are a bit surprising considering the Tampa Bay Lightning puck-stopper is being outplayed by numerous netminders in 2022-23. However, you can't deny his track record with a pair of championships and plenty of playoff success in general.
In a must-win game, which forward do you think would be most impactful?
No surprise here with McDavid destroying the field of forwards given his dominance both in 2022-23 and in his career as a whole. The NHLPA phrased this one as "which skater" last year, with McDavid and Crosby finishing one-two in that as well. But McDavid's total increased from the 42.2% he received in 2021-22, while Crosby's fell from 17.4%.
Who's the top defenseman in the game?
The results are pretty much as expected, with blue-liners getting their own separate query this time. Makar is having another outstanding campaign after claiming the Norris Trophy, the Conn Smythe Trophy, and the Stanley Cup last season.
Who's the most complete player?
Crosby also earned this distinction in 2021-22. Bergeron leapfrogged Barkov after placing third last year.
Who's the most underrated player?
This question wasn't asked in 2021-22. Barkov's win by a wide margin is well-deserved, and it's notable to see Zibanejad and Bratt cracking the top six.
Which player do you least enjoy playing against but would like to have on your team?
The NHL's most prominent pest claims this one for the second consecutive year, with McDavid and Wilson finishing right where they did one season ago as well. Marchand got more votes this time after garnering 26.4% in 2021-22.
Which NHL player is the best guy in the locker room?
This question wasn't asked last year, either. It was by far the most divisive this time around, with 181 different players earning votes. The range of responses - and Fleury's status as the game's most beloved player, for that matter - isn't shocking. But it's a bit unexpected to not see a player like Ryan Reaves get more love, especially considering he's now with his fifth team.
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