Every year, the NHL Players Association asks their members to take a poll on everything from on-ice skill to arena atmosphere. Wednesday morning, the PA released the results of this season’s poll and Nathan MacKinnon finds himself as the third best forward in the NHL according to his peers.
Here is how the NHLPA describes the poll:
Often imitated but never duplicated, the NHLPA Player Poll is back with our 2018-19 edition. NHL players were surveyed on more than 20 hockey-related questions with more than 500 players taking part in the poll. Players weighed in on a variety of questions – covering skills, arenas, teams and a few other entertaining topics in between.
He only received 4.1% of the vote but that is because back-to-back Ted Lindsay Award winner Connor McDavid won in a landslide. Fellow Nova Scotian Sidney Crosby was the only other player to receive more votes than MacKinnon.
Connor McDavid - 63.6%
Sidney Crosby - 17.2%
Nathan MacKinnon - 4.1%
Nikita Kucherov - 3.7%
Aleksander Barkov - 1.7%
When he lost out on the Hart Trophy to Taylor Hall last season, many believed that Nathan MacKinnon’s skills were still being underrated by those around the league. This poll proves that at the very least, his fellow NHL players know just how good the Avalanche star is.
MacKinnon also found himself with 5% of the vote for the most difficult player to play against. That’s not surprising when you think about the speed at which MacKinnon plays the game. He is without a doubt one of the fastest skaters in the world, a skill that allows him to drive possession in both the neutral and offensive zones better than almost anyone.
He also finished fifth in the category of “which player would you start a franchise with?”
Receiving 1.4% of the vote, MacKinnon was behind McDavid (60%), Crosby (18.5%), Auston Matthews (4.3%) and Patrice Bergeron (1.7%).
The only other Avalanche to find his way into the top-5 of any category was Mikko Rantanen. Colorado’s star winger finished tied for 4th with Evgeny Kuznetsov in the most underrated category.
It’s a pretty interesting exercise to see how the opinion of NHL players line up with the opinion of the fans. You can see full results of the poll here.