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Frank Seravalli

TSN Senior Hockey Reporter

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The debate over the National Hockey League’s best player has boiled down to two – and only two ­– players over the past couple years: Connor or Sid?

The latest NHLPA Player Poll, which anonymously polled 588 players from all 31 teams during the 2019-20 season, reflected that split.

Connor McDavid was voted the best forward, with nearly 70 per cent of the vote, but Sidney Crosby was picked as both the most complete player and player counted on most by his peers to win one game.

But the player most likely to win the Hart Trophy this season – if one is awarded – didn’t receive a plurality of votes from NHL players in any of those three categories.

That would be Leon Draisaitl.

Draisaitl, 24, was 13 points clear of McDavid in this season’s scoring race with 43 goals and a league-leading 67 assists for 110 points. The argument about the benefit of playing McDavid is moot this season – aside from power-play time, Draisaitl has driven his own scoring line and turned the playoff-bound Oilers into a two-line threat.

And it’s not just about this season. Last year, Draisaitl became just the seventh player in the salary cap era to collect 50 goals and 100-plus points. He was on track to match that 50-goal season this year.

McDavid was voted best forward (68 per cent), followed by Crosby (15), Nathan MacKinnon (7) and Nikita Kucherov (3).

Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman, the 2018 Norris Trophy winner, was selected as the best defenceman. Montreal’s Carey Price was voted the best goaltender, following two years being selected as the one goaltender most difficult to play against ­– even though his numbers have been near league average over the past three seasons.

Boston Bruins agitator Brad Marchand was somehow voted the best and worst trash talker in the NHL, while Florida’s Keith Yandle – who has shown his personality a bit publicly on the Barstool Sports’ Spittin’ Chiclets podcast – was chosen as the funniest player in the league.

Montreal’s Tomas “Tuna” Tatar won best nickname for the second year in a row, while Dallas’ Joe Pavelski – a scratch handicap – was selected as the best golfer. He might be second in all of hockey to NHL referee Garrett Rank, the first Canadian since 1977 to win the prestigious Western Amateur tournament last year, joining a list that includes Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus.

Here are the full results of the 2019-20 NHLPA Player Poll, the definitive poll conducted among players each season:

Would you be in favour of relaxing game-day dress code, similar to the NBA?
Yes = 411 (73%) 
No = 152 (27%) 
Total = 562

Which way would you most like to see players showcase their personalities on the ice? a. custom skate designs b. custom helmet designs c. neither d. Other 
Yes = 53% 
Skates = 43.6% 
Sticks = 4.8% 
Helmets = 3.3% 
No = 47% 
Total = 529

Who is the best female hockey player in the world? a. Marie-Philip Poulin b. Hilary Knight c. Kendall Coyne Schofield d. Other 
A (Poulin) = 198 (40%) 
B (Knight) = 180 (36.3%) 
C (Coyne Schofield) = 77 (15.6%) 
Matheson = 7 (1.4%) 
Total = 495

Who is the best forward? 
McDavid = 379 (68.3%) 
Crosby = 83 (15%) 
MacKinnon = 37 (6.7%) 
Kucherov = 16 (2.9%) 
Total = 555

Who is the best defenceman?
Hedman = 196 (37.8%) 
Carlson = 111 (21.4%) 
Josi = 47 (9%) 
Doughty = 34 (6.6%) 
Burns = 34 (6.6%) 
Total = 519

Who is the best goalie? 
Price = 214 (41.7%) 
Vasilevskiy = 87 (17%)
Fleury = 46 (9%) 
Bobrovsky = 29 (5.7%) 
Total = 513

If you need to win one game, who is the one player (any position) you would want on your team? 
Crosby = 224 (44%) 
McDavid = 156 (30.6%) 
MacKinnon = 21 (4.1%) 
Bergeron = 17 (3.3%) 
Total = 510


Who is the most complete player?
Crosby = 230 (45.4%) 
Bergeron = 129 (25.5%) 
Barkov = 38 (7.5%) 
O’Reilly = 27 (5.3%) 
Total = 506


Who is the game’s best trash-talker?
Marchand = 88 (25.7%) 
Doughty = 46 (13.4%) 
Reaves = 38 (11.1%) 
Maroon = 13 (3.8%) 
Total = 343

Who is the game’s worst trash-talker? 
Marchand = 35 (11%) 
Doughty = 22 (6.9%) 
Subban = 22 (6.9%) 
Cousins = 18 (5.6%) 
Total = 320

Of all players past or present, who would you pay to see play?
Gretzky = 155 (32.8%) 
Orr = 73 (15.4%) 
Lemieux = 45 (9.5%) 
McDavid = 38 (8%) 
Total = 485

Who is the funniest player in the NHL? 
Yandle = 57 (18%)
Doughty = 23 (7.2%) 
Marchand = 18 (5.7%) 
Kessel = 15 (4.7%) 
Total = 317

Best bromance/friendship in the league? 
Perron/O’Reilly = 14 (6.5%) 
Thornton/Burns = 11 (5.1%) 
Matthews/Marner = 10 (4.6%) 
Tkachuk/Doughty = 8 (3.7%) 
Benn/Seguin = 8 (3.7%) 
Marchand/Bergeron = 8 (3.7%) 
Total = 216

Which player is the best follow on social media? 
Subban = 28 (13.7%) 
Ovechkin = 13 (8.8%) 
Marchand = 9 (4.4%) 
Domi = 9 (4.4%) 
Total = 205


Which player isn’t on social media but should be? 
Crosby = 47 (26%) 
Thornton = 13 (7.2%) 
Ennis = 10 (5.5%) 
Bouwmeester = 7 (3.9%) 
Total = 181

Who has the best nickname (include player & nickname)?
Tomas “Tuna” Tatar = 21 (8.1%) 
David “Pasta” Pastrnak = 19 (7.3%) 
Artemi “Breadman” Panarin = 15 (5.8%) 
Christian “Stinky” Fischer = 7 (2.7%) 
Total = 259

Who is the best golfer among players? 
Pavelski = 54 (16%) 
Bozak = 19 (5.6%) 
Schultz = 14 (4.1%) 
Clutterbuck = 13 (3.8%) 
Stone = 13 (3.8%) 
McKegg = 13 (3.8%) 
Total = 339

Best visitors’ dressing room? 
Oilers = 168 (38%) 
Knights = 117 (26.5%) 
Red Wings = 104 (23.6%) 
Penguins = 30 (6.8%) 
Total = 442

Which team has the best jersey?
Blackhawks = 124 (28.3%) 
Maple Leafs = 30 (6.8%) 
Knights = 30 (6.8%) 
Rangers = 28 (6.4%) 
Total = 438

Which arena has the best ice? 
Bell Centre = 127 (31.8%) 
Rogers Place = 67 (16.8%) 
Bell MTS Place = 44 (11%) 
T-Mobile = 35 (8.8%) 
Total = 399

Who is the best NHL team mascot?
Gritty = 273 (69.5%) 
Gnash = 11 (2.8%) 
Howler = 11 (2.8%) 
Bailey = 10 (2.5%) 
Total = 393

Contact Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @frank_seravalli