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NHL players vote on top stars, best hockey hair, favorite cities

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We’re in the thick of NHL awards season with many writers and prognosticators alike submitting their picks for this year’s hardware.

And one ballot stands above all, as the NHLPA’s annual player poll was released Wednesday, with Connor McDavid and Andrei Vasilevskiy emerging with unbridled respect from their peers.

Let’s start with McDavid, who is making a late push to knock off Auston Matthews for the Hart Trophy. Asked if you needed to win one game, and you could pick one skater you’d want, McDavid secured 42.8 percent of the 507 votes cast, with Sidney Crosby finishing in a distant second place, earning 17.3 percent of the votes. Victor Hedman finished third with 6.7 percent.

Crosby did emerge as the best role model and most complete player in the game, topping the latter category with 29.5 percent of the votes, while Aleksander Barkov ranked second at 20.5 percent. This is a category where McDavid’s defensive negligence was taken into account, although he finished fourth with 9.5 percent of the vote.

Between the pipes, Vasilevskiy, the reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner, stands alone. In a one-game scenario, Vasilevskiy was the goalie that 37.4 percent of the 537 votes would want in net. Carey Price finished second with a 13.9 percent share, while Marc-Andre Fleury finished third with 6.7 percent. Shockingly, Rangers stud and Vezina-trophy favourite Igor Shesterkin didn't crack the top seven.

In other categories, Leon Draisaitl edged Patrick Kane for the best passer superlative, while Brad Marchand is unsurprisingly considered to be the player that no one likes playing against but would love to have on their team. And seemingly nobody wants to leave Las Vegas, which ranked as the overwhelming favourite for an ideal off-day destination.

And in a bit of a surprise, Buffalo Sabres forward Cody Eakin won best hair. We’re not attacking Eakin here — we think he has great flow, too. But you would figure that the poll would skew towards established superstars. Big ups to Eakin!

Here is the full list of results for each category. If you want to see how things have changed over the past year, here's the 2020-21 poll.

Connor McDavid, Brad Marchand and Cody Eakin all finished with first-place votes in the NHLPA's annual poll. (Getty Images)
Connor McDavid, Brad Marchand and Cody Eakin all finished with first-place votes in the NHLPA's annual poll. (Getty Images)

If you need to win one game, who is the one goalie you would want on your team?

1. Andrei Vasilevskiy - 37.4%

2. Carey Price - 13.9%

3. Marc-Andre Fleury - 6.7%

4. John Gibson - 3.5%

T5. Jacob Markstrom, Jonathan Quick, Juuse Saros - 3.1%

If you need to win one game, who is the one skater you would want on your team?

1. Connor McDavid - 42.4%

2. Sidney Crosby - 17.3%

3. Victor Hedman - 6.7%

4. Aleksander Barkov - 3.5%

5. Nathan MacKinnon - 3.3%

Who is the best stick-handler?

1. Patrick Kane - 57.3%

2. Connor McDavid - 22.8%

3. Nathan MacKinnon - 5.3%

4. Aleksander Barkov - 2.4%

T5. Johnny Gaudreau, Auston Matthews - 1.4%

Who is the best passer?

1. Leon Draisaitl - 17.7%

2. Patrick Kane - 15.6%

3. Nicklas Backstrom - 15.4%

4. Connor McDavid - 10.6%

5. Nikita Kucherov - 6.2%

Which player do you wish you could shoot like?

1. Alex Ovechkin - 53.1%

2. Auston Matthews - 24%

3. Patrik Laine - 3.4%

4. David Pastrnak - 1.7%

T5. Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov - 1.3%

Who is the most complete player?

1. Sidney Crosby - 29.5%

2. Aleksander Barkov - 20.5%

3. Patrice Bergeron - 19.5%

4. Connor McDavid - 9.2%

5. Anze Kopitar - 2.6%

Which NHL arena has the best ice?

1. Bell Centre (Montreal) - 39.6%

2. Rogers Place (Edmonton) - 13.7%

3. Canada Life Centre (Winnipeg) - 12.2%

4. T-Mobile Arena (Las Vegas) - 5.8%

5. Xcel Energy Center (Minnesota) - 5.8%

Which player do you least enjoy playing against, but would like to have on your team?

1. Brad Marchand - 26.4%

2. Connor McDavid - 18.3%

3. Tom Wilson - 10.7%

4. Victor Hedman - 6.9%

5. Nathan MacKinnon - 5.3%

Who is the best current women’s hockey player?

1. Marie-Philip Poulin - 43.2%

2. Hilary Knight - 20.7%

3. Amanda Kessel - 6.2%

4. Kendall Coyne Schofield - 5%

5. Sarah Nurse - 2.9%

Where is the best NHL road city to spend an off day?

1. Las Vegas - 30.6%

2. New York City - 17%

3. Fort Lauderdale - 10.4%

4. Los Angeles - 10%

5. Nashville - 8.7%

Which NHL player could make it in another sport?

1. Joe Pavelski (golf) - 4%

2. Anders Lee (football) - 3.6%

T3. Zdeno Chara (basketball), Greg McKegg (golf) - 3.3%

T4. Clayton Keller (golf), Brady Skjei (golf) - 2.3%

T5. Ryan Reaves (football), Gustav Nyquist (golf), Sam Lafferty (golf) - 1.6%

Which NHL player has the best hockey hair?

1. Cody Eakin - 8.9%

2. William Karlsson - 7.9%

3. Erik Karlsson - 4.8%

4. Jon Merrill - 4%

5. Brandon Tanev - 3.8%

Which NHL player is the best follow on social media?

1. P.K. Subban - 16.3%

2. Auston Matthews - 11.8%

3. Brad Marchand - 6.9%

4. Jonathan Huberdeau - 3.4%

Which NHL player is the best role model?

1. Sidney Crosby - 42.7%

2. Patrice Bergeron - 9.8%

3. Connor McDavid - 3.2%

4. Marc-Andre Fleury - 2.1%

Which non-NHL athlete would you like to trade places with for a day?

1. Tom Brady - 18.3%

2. Tiger Woods - 10.5%

3. LeBron James - 7.5%

4. Roger Federer - 7%

5. Cristiano Ronaldo - 6.4%

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