A Few Surprises In The Latest NHL Players’ Poll
With the NHL playoff races being as tight as a drum and the scenarios changing on a nightly basis, let’s take a bit of a break and check out the latest NHL players’ poll.
The 2018/19 answer and question session took place a few days ago with over 500 NHL’ers taking part in it. They were asked numerous questions on hockey-related subjects so let’s see who and what were ranked where according to some of the poll answers.
According to those polled, the best forward in the league at the moment is none other than Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers. Not a surprise really since he won the Ted Lindsay Award the last two seasons. The youngster raked in 63.6 per cent of the votes while fellow captain Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins was runner up with 17.2 per cent. Perhaps the third-place vote-getter was a bit of a surprise as it was Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche at 4.1 per cent. The Tampa Bay Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov, who has been leading the NHL in scoring for most of the season, was ranked fourth with 3.7 per cent while Aleksander Barkov of the Florida Panthers came in fifth with 1.7 per cent. Other players received 9.7 per cent of the votes and 517 players took part in the polling.
While James Norris Trophy winners as the league’s best blue liner are often those who post the most points, the players realize you also need to be good in your own end. Tampa Bay Lightning rearguard Victor Hedman was named the best defender by 31.7 per cent of the voters, Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings placed second with 20.9 per cent and Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks was third at 10.6 per cent. Erik Karlsson of the Sharks and Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators rounded out the top five with 9.5 and 6.1 per cent of votes respectively. Other players received 21.1 per cent of votes with 473 players participating.
Although he’s struggled at times this season, Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens was voted by his peers as the best goalie in the league with 29.9 per cent of the vote. Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators was runner up at 17.3 per cent while Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning was right behind him at 17.1 per cent. Placing fourth was Marc-Andre Fleury of the Vegas Golden Knights at 6.5 per cent with pending unrestricted free agent Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets in fifth spot at 4.8 per cent. A total of 24.4 per cent of the votes went to other goalies with 475 players answering the question.
Russian sniper Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals ran away with the voting in this category by taking 50.2 per cent of the votes. Montreal Canadiens’ blue liner Shea Weber was a distant second with 14.6 per cent and he was followed by Winnipeg Jets’ young forward Patrik Laine with 12.6 per cent. Center Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs was fourth with 8.0 per cent and forward Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning came in fifth at 1.6 per cent. A total of 486 players voted with other players receiving 12.8 per cent of the votes.
Most Underrated Player
He’s been seen on hi-light reels several times this season for his skill and his talent hasn’t gone unnoticed by his peers, so it’s fitting that Florida Panthers’ forward Aleksander Barkov was named the league’s most underrated player with 21.5 per cent of all votes. Forward Nicklas Backstrom of the Washington Capitals was runner up at 11.4 per cent and followed by Brayden Point of the Tampa Bay Lightning at 7.7 per cent. The Capitals’ Evgeny Kuznetsov and fellow forward Mikko Rantanen of the Colorado Avalanche rounded out the top five as they were tied with 4.4 per cent each. Other players received over half of the 405 total votes at 50.6 per cent.
Most Difficult Opponent
When it comes to the hardest opponent to play against, Edmonton’s Connor McDavid was named first with 30.9 per cent of the vote followed by Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby at 16.0 per cent. Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins was third at 9.2 per cent followed by Nathan MacKinnon of Colorado at 5.0 per cent and Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings at 3.5 per cent. All five are forwards and 401 players voted with 35.4 per cent of the ballots going to other players.
When asked which player they’d start a franchise with, the voters chose Connor McDavid at 60 per cent with Sidney Crosby receiving 18.5 per cent. Auston Matthews was third at 4.3 per cent followed by Patrice Bergeron at 1.7 per cent and Nathan MacKinnon at 1.4 per cent. A total of 417 votes were counted with 14.1 per cent going to other players.
Top Trash Talker
When he’s not busy licking opponents, Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins finds the time to trash talk and he’s been voted the best in the league at it with 21.3 per cent of the vote. Drew Doughty was ranked second with 11.8 per cent while Ryan Reaves of the Vegas Golden Knights was next at 5.5 per cent. The Philadelphia Flyers’ Claude Giroux came in fourth with 4.8 per cent and Nick Cousins of the Arizona Coyotes was fifth at 3.3 per cent. Just 272 players voted with other players garnering 53.3 per cent of the votes.
Worst Trash Talker
We’re not sure what the difference between the best and worst trash talker is, but Brad Marchand gets the nod in this category too with 12.5 per cent of the vote. Nick Cousins also shows up on both trash-talking lists as he was fourth at 4.7 per cent. Antoine Russell of the Vancouver Canucks was runner up at 5.5 per cent while P.K. Subban of the Nashville Predators was third at 5.1 per cent and Brendan Lemieux of the New York Rangers was fifth at 3.5 per cent. Only 256 players voted and 68.8 per cent of the votes went to other players, so apparently there’s a heck of a lot of bad trash talkers out there.
Keith Yandle of the Florida Panthers was voted funniest player in the NHL with 12.1 per cent of the votes followed by Drew Doughty at 7.8 per cent. Dustin Byfuglien of the Winnipeg Jets was next at 3.2 per cent followed by Brent Burns at 2.8 per cent and Dan Girardi of the Tampa Bay Lightning at 2.5 per cent. A total of 282 votes were counted with 71.6 per cent going to other players.
The atmosphere in NHL arenas basically comes down to the fans and the rink voted with the best vibes was the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas with 42.5 per cent of the vote. Montreal’s Bell Centre was the distant runner up with 21.2 per cent followed by the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville at 14.1 per cent. Chicago’s United Center was next at 10.9 per cent with the Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg placing fifth with 3.0 per cent. Other arenas received 3.8 per cent of the vote with 468 players voicing their opinion.
Players really notice the ice at NHL rinks and the Bell Centre in Montreal takes the honors for the second year in a row for the best surface with 29.6 per cent of the vote. Rogers Place in Edmonton was runner up at 20.4 per cent followed by Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg at 11.4 per cent, the Xcel Energy Center in Minnesota at 8.5 per cent and the T-Mobile Arena in Vegas at 4.8 per cent. A total of 378 players voted with other rinks receiving 25.4 per cent of the vote.