2022-23 NHLPA Player Poll: McDavid and Vasilevsky still most trusted in must-watch game

On Wednesday, the NHLPA announced the results of its 2022-2023 player survey. Although the sixth edition of the survey was as interesting as ever, it was not a year for surprises.

The two most important categories were the most desirable skater and goalie in a must-play game. Oilers’ Connor McDavid and Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy led their respective categories with more than half of the votes.

For McDavid, who received 59% of the vote, this is his third consecutive season at the top of this category. The last time another player won was Penguins captain Sidney Crosby in 2019-20. McDavid had to settle for 68% of the vote in the abandoned ‘best forward’ category that year.

Vasilevskiy completed his own ‘treble’ in the goalkeeping category, which went from ‘best goalkeeper’ in the script to one game last season. Carey Price won the award every year until 2019-20, when Vasilevskiy finished second.

Cale Makar was the biggest winner in any category, with nearly 64% of the top defender votes. Last year’s Norris Winner is unlikely to return due to injury issues, but he still has the respect of his peers as one of the best in the game. Curiously, there was no category for the defenders in 2021-22.

Other repeats include Sidney Crosby as most complete player (4x), Patrick Kane as best stickhandler (3x) and Leon Draisaitl as best passer (2x). Crosby and Kane have won these categories every year they have been awarded.

Other interesting results include Alex Barkov voted the league’s most underrated player, Dallas Stars veteran Joe Pavelski voted best presence in net and Norris favorite Erik Karlsson garnering just 3% of the votes in the category of defenders.

Canadian captain Marie-Philip Poulin was voted MVP ahead of American Hilary Knight for the second season in a row, albeit by a much narrower margin than last year.

In the off-ice category, fashion forward Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs was voted for having the best « shoe game ». Vegas was named the most desirable roadside city to visit, while Marc-André Fleury was voted the best locker room presence.

More than 600 NHL players gave their opinion for the poll, which has been running since the 2017-18 season and provides players’ perspectives on the biggest issues in hockey.

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