NHLPA poll names Ovechkin best shot, Backstrom best passer


The NHLPA Player Poll asked nearly 500 players 14 questions as it pertained to the league in the unique 2020-21 season. And the Capitals had some familiar faces at the top of some categories. 

Captain Alex Ovechkin won nearly half the vote (48.95 percent) in the category of “best shot,” just more than 20 percent higher than second-place Auston Matthews. 

Ovechkin also finished second in the category of “best goal-scorer” behind Matthews, who carried the vote with 46.27 percent. Those two combined for 80.09 percent of the total vote. Ovechkin finished the season with 24 goals in 45 games and currently is sixth on the all-time goals scoring list. 

Center Nicklas Backstrom was named “best passer” with a percentage of 20.72 in a narrow win over Patrick Kane (20.30 percent) and Leon Draisaitl (18.39 percent). Backstrom finished one of his most efficient seasons as a Capital with 53 points and 38 assists.

The other Capital to be named in the top five was John Carlson, who placed fifth in the “best defenseman” category with 2.1 percent behind Victor Hedman, Roman Josi, Cale Makar and Drew Doughty.

Other categories included “best goalie,” which Andrei Vasilevskiy ran away with at 54.12 percent of the vote, “most complete player,” which Sidney Crosby and Patrice Bergeron tied for at 23.78 percent and “who is the one player (any position) you would want on your team in any game?” which Connor McDavid carried the vote for. 

As a team, the Capitals tied for fifth in the “favorite reverse retro jersey” category with the Ducks and Panthers. The Avalanche, Kings, Flames and Wild were in the top four of that category. 


A few more interesting questions were asked, like if a series-style schedule should be carried forward into future seasons, with 66.3 percent of respondents answering yes. And 68.2 percent of respondents answered no on if regional divisions should be carried forward.