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Are Maple Leafs’ Matthews & Marner Appreciated by Other NHL Players?

The Toronto Maple Leafs have two of the best players in the NHL – I think. In today’s NHL Players’ Poll, why didn’t they get more votes?

Today the NHL released the findings of its annual NHL Players Association Player Poll. There were a number of consistencies from previous seasons. For example, Sidney Crosby was named the most complete NHL player by his peers. In addition, Alex Ovechkin was named the NHL’s best shooter.

Alex Ovechkin Washington Capitals Upper Deck Portrait
Alex Ovechkin Washington Capitals Upper Deck Portrait

However, there were also some surprises — specifically if you’re a Toronto Maple Leafs’ fan. Neither Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, players who are considered by many to be two of the NHL’s best players, were hardly mentioned at all in the NHL poll. To be specific, Matthews was mentioned in two of the categories – and was named to have the second-best shot (after Ovechkin); however, Marner didn’t get a vote on the poll (or at least not enough votes to be noteworthy.

Related: Maple Leafs Quick Hits: Season’s Goals, Team Depth & Kallgren Success

The NHL Players Poll’s Questions and the Answers

To offer some context for the poll, over 500 NHL players were asked to answer a number of questions about the league’s top players. These questions included the goalie they’d want on their own team if they had to win one game. They were also asked which NHL player was the “most complete.”

Here are some of the questions asked to players participating in the poll.

Question One: If you needed to win one game, who is the one goalie you would want on your team?

The answers were, in order with percentagtes.

Andrei Vasilevskiy (Lightning) – 37.4 percent

Carey Price (Canadiens) – 13.9 percent

Marc-Andre Fleury (Wild) – 6.7 percent

John Gibson (Ducks) – 3.5 percent

Jacob Markstrom (Flames) – 3.1 percent

Jonathan Quick (Kings) – 3.1 percent

Jusse Saros (Predators) – 3.1 percent

Andrei Vasilevskiy Tampa Bay Lightning
Andrei Vasilevskiy Tampa Bay Lightning

Question Two: If you needed to win one game, who is the one skater that you’d want on your team?

Connor McDavid (Oilers) – 42.4 percent

Sidney Crosby (Penguins) – 17.3 percent

Victor Hedman (Lightning) – 6.7 percent

Aleksander Barkov (Panthers) – 3.5 percent

Nathan MacKinnon (Avalanche) – 3.3 percent

Connor McDavid, Oilers

Question Three: Who’s the best stick-handler in the NHL?

Patrick Kane (Blackhawks) – 57.3 percent

Connor McDavid (Oilers) – 22.8 percent

Nathan MacKinnon (Avalanche) – 5.3 percent

Aleksander Barkov (Panthers) – 2.4 percent

Johnny Gaudreau (Flames) – 1.4 percent

Auston Matthews (Maple Leafs) – 1.4 percent

Question Four: Who’s the best passer in the NHL?

Leon Draisaitl (Oilers) – 17.7 percent

Patrick Kane (Blackhawks) – 15.6 percent

Nicklas Backstrom (Capitals) – 15.4 percent

Connor McDavid (Oilers) – 10.6 percent

Nikita Kucherov (Lightning) – 6.2 percent

Leon Draisaitl, Oilers

Question Five: Which NHL player do you wish what you could shoot like?

Alex Ovechkin (Capitals) – 53.1 percent

Auston Matthews (Maple Leafs) – 24.0 percent

Patrik Laine (Blue Jackets) – 3.4 percent

David Pastrnak (Bruins) – 1.7 percent

Steven Stamkos (Lightning) – 1.3 percent

Nikita Kucherov (Lightning) – 1.3 percent

Maple Leafs Auston Matthews @reebeccathomson
Maple Leafs Auston Matthews came in second for his accurate shot photo by @reebeccathomson

Question Six: Who’s the most complete player in the NHL?

Sidney Crosby (Penguins) – 29.5 percent

Aleksander Barkov (Panthers) – 20.5 percent

Patrice Bergeron (Bruins) – 19.5 percent

Connor McDavid (Oilers) – 9.2 percent

Anze Kopitar (Kings) – 2.6 percent

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

Brad Marchand (Bruins) – 26.4 percent

Connor McDavid (Oilers) – 8.3 percent

Tom Wilson (Capitals) – 10.7 percent

Victor Hedman (Lightning) – 6.9 percent

Nathan MacKinnon (Avalanche) – 5.3 percent

Brad Marchand Boston Bruins 1
Brad Marchand Boston Bruins 1

What Should Be Made of Matthews’ and Marner’s Lack of Peer Votes?

Matthews is the NHL’s leading goal scorer. Funny he should be virtually ignored (he did come in second for the best shooter) – by his NHL peers. Marner wasn’t mentioned even as one the best NHL passers. Have Maple Leafs’ fans – like me – simply placed over-accentuated the values of the quality of these two young stars? Or are they simply that – young stars and not yet ready for vote collecting in such a poll?

For whatever reason, these two cornerstones to the Maple Leafs’ team were not given many votes by their peers for their skills. I was surprised to be honest. In reflection, there’s probably little doubt that as a hockey writer I’ve come to value the players on the team I’m covering – more than I probably should.

In fact, I’ve been accused of being too pro-Maple Leafs. Perhaps, that’s so. Still I was surprised by the lack of votes Maple Leafs’ players garnered in this latest edition of the NHL Players Poll.

We’ll see what happens for next season’s poll.

Related: Three Takeaways from Maple Leafs’ 3-0 Win over the Red Wings



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