Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom was voted the best passer in the NHL by the players’ association in their annual poll released on Thursday. The vote featured 490 NHL player participants answering 14 questions.
20.7% of the players participated voted for the 33-year-old, whose 38 assists tied for the 14th-most in the league this season, as the league’s best passer, .42% more than Chicago Blackhawks left wing Patrick Kanet.
33.82% of players called Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin the best goal-scorer in the game, second behind Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (46.27%), after the 35-year-old netted 24 goals in 45 games this season which was tied for 13th. That was a cushion of 27.8% for second ahead of Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak. A majority (48.95%) also said that Ovechkin has the best shot in the league, 20.17% more than anyone else.
2.1% of players named Capitals blueliner John Carlson the best defenseman in the NHL, the fifth-highest behind Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning (64.71%), Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators and Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche (7.35%), and Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings (2.73%).
Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who signed a one-year contract with the Capitals on October 9 but did not play this season after undergoing an open heart procedure, earned 5.04% of votes for the most fashionable player. That was the fourth-most behind Matthews (21.16%), Pastrnak (11.08%), and New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban (6.55%).
68.2% of players voted against regional divisions beyond this season, which saw realigned divisions due to the border closure between the United States and Canada. Though, 66.3% liked the idea of a “series-style schedule” going forward.
The Capitals’ reverse retro jersey with the screaming eagle on the crest was tied for the players’ fifth favorite with the Anaheim Ducks’ as 4.46% players called it the best. Only the Avalanche’s (28.57%), Kings’ (10.49%), Calgary Flames’ (6.47%), and Minnesota Wild’s (6.03%) garnered higher honor.
You can view the entire NHLPA’s players’ poll for the 2020-21 season here.
By Harrison Brown