NHL players hate competing against Boston Bruins star Brad Marchand but they’d love him as a teammate, according to a new NHL Players Association poll.
The NHLPA released its annual player poll Wednesday, an anonymous survey of 566 players on all 32 teams. One of the questions asked: “Which player do you least enjoy playing against, but would like to have on your team?” Marchand won with 26.4% of the vote, followed by Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid (18.3%) and Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson (10.7%).
McDavid won the poll for the skater that most players would want on their team if they needed a victory, with 42.4% of the vote. Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins was second at 17.3%. But Crosby won one of the most coveted votes in the annual poll for “most complete player,” amassing 29.5% of the vote. Crosby was also named the NHL’s best role model (42.7%).
Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks won best stickhandler in a landslide, with 57.3% of the vote. Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl (17.7%) just edged Kane (15.6%) and the Capitals’ Nicklas Backstrom (15.4%) for best passer. Washington’s Alex Ovechkin was named the skater that players wished they could shoot the puck like the most, with 53.1% of the vote; Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, who hit 60 goals for the first time this season, was second at 24.0%.
Andrei Vasilevskiy, who led the Tampa Bay Lightning to two straight Stanley Cups, was named the goalie that players would want to start in a must-win game with 37.4% of the vote, topping Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens (13.9%).
In other categories, Dallas Stars center and golf aficionado Joe Pavelski was named the player most likely to excel in another sport; Cody Eakin of the Buffalo Sabres was voted as having the best hockey hair; and New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban was voted as the best social media follow.
In the superlatives categories, Bell Centre in Montreal was voted as having the best ice (39.6%), Las Vegas was the city in which players most wanted to spend a day off (30.6%) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady was named the non-hockey athlete that the players would most like to swap places with for a day.
The NHLPA also named Canada’s Marie-Philip Poulin (43.2%) as the world’s best women’s hockey player, over Team USA star and ESPN analyst Hilary Knight (20.7%).