Can you be the best without being The Best?
Members of the NHLPA, made of up players in the NHL, released their annual player poll Tuesday, and it comes as little surprise that Edmonton Oilers superstar Connor McDavid was voted by his peers as the best forward in the league today.
It’s the second-straight year McDavid has topped the voting.
McDavid garnered a whopping 68.35 percent of the vote from the 556 players who cast their ballot, more than 4.5 times higher than second-place Sidney Crosby (14.93%). McDavid was on his way to a fourth-straight 100-point season prior to the NHL’s pause on March 12, with the 23-year-old registering 97 points in just 64 games played.
Yet despite McDavid’s continued dominance, his fellow NHLers would rather have someone else on their team when everything’s on the line. According to the poll, more than 44 percent of players selected Crosby as the answer to the question, “If you need to win one game, who is the one player (any position) you would want on your team?”
McDavid came in second with 30.53%.
Perhaps it shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise. Crosby is arguably one of the top 10 players to ever step onto an NHL rink, and he’s won at every level throughout his career. The Pittsburgh Penguins captain has led his team to three Stanley Cups (with two Conn Smythe Trophies) and he owns two Olympic gold medals.
Crosby’s most famous goal — the overtime Golden Goal to put Canada atop the podium at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics — was the very definition of clutch, as the then 22-year-old sent an entire nation into raptures under the most intense pressure he’ll ever face.
Meanwhile, for all of McDavid’s incredible skills and offensive prowess, the Oilers captain has only played in 13 NHL playoff games total.
That’s not to say it’s McDavid’s fault that he doesn’t have as many big-game moments as Crosby — the Oilers haven’t exactly given their best player since Wayne Gretzky a supporting cast equal to his immense talents. But it just goes to show that even McDavid’s peers, who seem to have anointed him as Crosby’s heir as the most-feared player in the NHL, would still choose experience when push comes to shove.
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