The Telegram (St. John's)

Crosby voted most complete player


The votes are in.

Sidney Crosby is still the most complete player in the NHL, while Victor Hedman is the best defenceman and Andrei Vasilevski­y is the best goalie. And when it comes to scoring goals, Auston Matthews is the player you want with the puck on his stick — just not in a Game 7 situation.

Those were just some of the results from the annual NHLPA Player Poll released on Thursday.

Nearly 500 players participat­ed in the questionna­ire, which tackled everything from the serious (best defenceman and best goalie) to the silly (most fashionabl­e and most unique tape job) and pretty much everything in between.

Here are the results:


With an Nhl-leading 41 goals this season, Toronto’s Auston Matthews (46.3%) edged nine-time Rocket Richard Trophy winner Alex Ovechkin (33.8%) as the best scorer. Since entering the league in 2016, Matthews has scored six fewer goals (199) than Ovechkin (205), but his 152 even-strength goals are 13 more than the next-highest scorer. The Maple Leafs sniper, who used his powerful — yet deceiving — wrist shot to score a majority of his goals, also finished second to Ovechkin in the “best shot” passer

With a league-leading 72 assists — an amount that would have had him ranked third in overall scoring even if he didn’t get a single goal this year — you would think that Mcdavid would be considered the best passer in the game. But for some reason, voters

went with Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom (20.7%), who has set up Ovechkin for the majority of his goals. Chicago’s Patrick Kane (20.3%) ranked second, followed by Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl (18.4%). As for Mcdavid (9.7%), who has picked up more assists than anyone since entering the league in 2015, he finished fourth (9.7%).


Though he has won the Norris Trophy just once, fivetime finalist Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman may as well be second coming of Nicklas Lidstrom when it comes to how his peers view him. For the third straight year, Hedman finished first in voting. This time, he was the overwhelmi­ng favourite, claiming 64.7% of the votes. Nashville’s Roman Josi and Colorado’s Cale Makar tied for second (7.3%), while Drew Doughty (2.7%) and John Carlson (2.1%) rounded out the top-5.


Was it surprising that Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevski­y received 54.1% of the votes? Not really. We’re talking about a goalie who is coming off a Stanley Cup win, who won the Vezina Trophy in 2019 and who has been a finalist for the award in each of the past four seasons. Then again, the shift in voting represente­d a changing of the guard. For years, this honour has belonged to Montreal’s Carey Price, who fell to third in voting (8.2%), behind Vegas’ Marc-andre Fleury (8.9%). No doubt, Price’s mediocre numbers in the regular season caused him to drop in the minds of voters. But you have to think that the results may have differed had the votes been tallied after Game 2 of the Stanley Cup semi-final.


The NHLPA’S version of the Selke Trophy praised the 200foot games of Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby and Boston’s Patrice Bergeron, who received an identical 23.8% of the votes. And while Matthews didn’t rank in the top five, scoring champion and Hart Trophy favourite Mcdavid proved that he is hardly a one-dimensiona­l offensive player, finishing behind Florida’s Aleksander Barkov (14.6%) in fifth (7.2%).


With the game on the line, players want Mcdavid (36.7%) on their team, followed by Crosby (23.0%), Colorado’s Nathan Mackinnon (5.9%), Bergeron (4.6%), Vasilevski­y (4.8%) and Kane (3.5%). Not surprising­ly, there wasn’t a single Toronto player ranked in the top six. Constantly losing in Game 7s probably had something to do with that.


The three vertical strips of tape at the toe of David Patrnak’s blade was voted the most unique.


Matthews (21.2%), who made moustaches cool again (?), was voted as the NHL’S best-dressed man, followed by Pastrnak (11.1%), whose wardrobe choices often seem like the results of a lost bet.


If it were up to the players — 68.2% of whom want to go back to the way things were — the North Division will be a one-time only experiment. However, 66.3% want to get rid of the two wild card playoff spots and instead have the top-4 teams in each division qualify for the post-season.


Patrick Kane (49.5%) Connor Mcdavid (25.8%) Nathan Mackinnon (7.5%) Auston Matthews (2.5%)


Sidney Crosby (27.3%) Michael Frolik (5.1%) Andrew Cogliano (4.8%) Corey Perry (4.6%)


Colorado (28.6%) Los Angeles (10.5%) Calgary (6.5%) Minnesota (6.0%) Washington (4.4%)

 ?? USA TODAY SPORTS ?? Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthew (34) celebrates with forward Zach Hyman after Hyman scored against Montreal Canadiens in game five of the first round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena.
USA TODAY SPORTS Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthew (34) celebrates with forward Zach Hyman after Hyman scored against Montreal Canadiens in game five of the first round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena.

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