Confidential NHL gamer survey 2024: Who’s the very best gamer? Many overvalued? Finest goalie? Worst roadway city?

Connor McDavid, Nathan MacKinnon or Nikita Kucherov: Who’s the NHL‘s finest gamer?

It’s got ta be McDavid, right?

Not so quickly, an unexpected variety of NHL gamers state.

” McDavid’s going to get all the votes, I make certain,” one gamer informed The Athletic “However I believe MacKinnon’s much better today.”

The 3 might well wind up in a dead heat for the Hart Prize this season, as Kucherov heads into the All-Star break leading the league in scoring, with MacKinnon a point behind and the ruling MVP McDavid rising on hockey’s most popular group

And After That there’s Auston Matthews, headed for a possible 70-goal season And Sidney Crosby, dipping into as high a level as ever

” Sid is still doing Sid things,” another gamer informed The Athletic “There’s a great deal of gamers where I go like, ‘Wow.'”

It’s constantly enjoyable to hear NHL gamers’ awe at the video game’s leading gamers, and there was lots of it in The Athletic‘s gamer survey this season. Our NHL personnel invested the very first half of the season asking almost 200 gamers:

  • Who’s the very best gamer?
  • Who’s the very best goalie?
  • Who are the most underrated and overrated gamers?
  • Who’s the gamer you ‘d most like to punch?
  • Finest and worst refs?
  • Preferred jerseys?
  • Favorite and least preferred roadway cities?

We likewise inquired about more nuanced subjects like neck guards and betting. Those outcomes will be being available in stories over the next week.

In the meantime, let’s dive in on the NHL’s excellent disputes.

A bit better than you ‘d anticipate? Most likely. However for the majority of, it’s still McDavid.

” There’s simply no one like him,” one gamer stated of the Edmonton Oilers captain. “No one does what he does.”

” I do not believe there’s going to be a conversation about that for several years,” another stated.

” It’s simply whatever,” another stated. “He can do whatever.”

So where does the argument creep in? For numerous gamers, the league’s finest gamer in the pre-McDavid age might not be getting his due.

” If there was one video game and whatever was on the line? I’m choosing Sid whenever,” one gamer stated of the Pittsburgh Penguins excellent.

” With Crosby … you’re practically worried about everybody else since he’s going to discover everybody else,” another stated. “With McDavid, you’re simply attempting to reach him, which’s the hardest thing to do. However they’re both excellent.”

And the MacKinnon-McDavid argument has actually taken a huge action as MacKinnon got his ring and as he rakes the Colorado Avalanche towards the playoffs:

” I’ll opt for McDavid still, however MacKinnon’s certainly pressing him,” one gamer stated.

” McDavid is the response, however MacKinnon is right there,” another echoed. “No one else dives onto the ice with a burst of speed like him.”

Amongst those who chose MacKinnon, competitiveness, volatility and winning were the keywords.

” He simply brings all his colleagues into the battle every night,” one gamer stated. “To me, the most competitive star. And, undoubtedly, he’s a winner.”

” He’s so explosive,” another stated. “Whenever he’s on the ice, something is going to occur.”

” He’s simply a horse,” another included. “There’s very little you can do when he’s got the puck.”

And what of the league’s scoring leader, Kucherov, a two-time champ himself with the Tampa Bay Lightning?

” So proficient at numerous things,” stated one gamer who elected him. “The sort of 200-foot gamer that does not get adequate credit.”

” He simply does not get a great deal of buzz remaining in Tampa, right?” another included. “He’s a peaceful super star, male. He’s amazing.”

Justifications for other choices?

On Makar, MacKinnon’s protective equivalent in Colorado: “As a defenseman, he’s on the ice more and has actually got the capability to manage the video game a bit more.”

On Barkov, the captain of the ruling East champ Florida Panthers: “A real leader on the ice, and you can actually admire him.”

Some will state Vasilevskiy, who goes into the All-Star break with a sub -.900 save portion, hasn’t been the very same after all the long Lightning playoff runs and his subsequent back surgical treatment.

NHL gamers, however, still see him as the Mount Rushmore goalie they do not wish to see in the other web.

” He’s shown it over and over once again,” one gamer stated.

” Simply a big-game guy,” another stated.

” I have actually never ever seen a guy that huge be that athletic which competitive,” included another.

Hellebuyck, The Athletic‘s expensive personnel preferred to win the Vezina Prize this season at the break, was another popular choice.

” He engulfs whatever,” one gamer stated.

The New york city goalie besties, Sorokin ( Islanders) and Shesterkin ( Rangers), both got a share of assistance, too, and may have divided the Russian vote.

One Russian forward, who elected Sorokin, initially ensured that his name was being ended this story. “Do not inform Shesterkin I stated that,” he stated.

Fleury, who this season played his 1,000 th video game and passed Patrick Roy for No. 2 all-time in wins, may have been the greatest surprise, getting 5 votes. The cherished icon may be getting credit more for his profession accomplishments and contagious smile than his play in web for the Minnesota Wild, as one gamer confessed.

” I understand he’s not the very best, however I like him the very best,” he stated. “He robbed me stacking the pads previously in the year. He’s been so helpful for so long. I’m sticking to Flower.”

Fleury, as The Athletic‘s Pierre LeBrun reported, might be readily available on the trade market this year for any GMs sharing that belief.

Maybe a lot more intriguing, Saros, who LeBrun reported the Nashville Predators may be happy to listen to deals on, got a few of the greatest recommendations from his NHL peers.

” Just the very best goalie in the league today,” one gamer stated.

” He’s the most athletic and he checks out the play the very best,” another stated.

A couple of other beliefs:

On last season’s out-of-nowhere Cup champ, the Vegas Golden Knights’ Hill: “The very best goalie in the league today. He won a Cup.”

On Demko, among the leaders of the Vancouver Canucks’ effective turn-around this season: “I have actually seen how difficult he works.”

After getting a little grassroots support for finest gamer, Barkov ran away with the vote here, coming off a Stanley Cup Final run and maybe being eclipsed in credit for that run by colleague Matthew Tkachuk

” He’s beginning to get some credit now,” one gamer stated. “However I believe he still is worthy of more.”

There was argument regarding whether a gamer of Barkov’s esteem can still be called underrated amongst some other gamers, however.

“( Barkov) is not underrated,” stated one gamer, who elected Rantanen. “He’s a significant male every night.”

” Everybody’s been stating Barkov for so long, however (he’s) not underrated,” another gamer concurred.

That gamer elected Barkov’s colleague, Reinhart, who has 37 objectives, 2nd just to Matthews’ 40 in the NHL, and was another popular choice.

” He’s undoubtedly scoring a lot this year, however he’s constantly sort of done all those things,” one gamer stated.

Point, likewise playing along with super stars in a nontraditional market (Tampa Bay), got the third-most votes.

” He does not get a great deal of attention, however he does whatever, male,” one gamer stated.

” He scored 50-something in 2015 (51 ), and I do not keep in mind anybody discussing it,” another stated. “He’s so quickly, and he’s simply the engine of that group.”

Keeping with the good-player, small-market style, 7 gamers indicated the Winnipeg Jets’ Connor, silently a point-per-game gamer each of the previous 2 seasons.

” He’s so proficient at developing time and area,” one stated. “No one actually discusses him.”

” He does not get much love,” another included. “He simply ratings every year.”

Other choices?

On Kaprizov, the Minnesota Wild’s star and engine: “He’s a super star in my viewpoint, however nobody actually discusses him because classification of the leading guys. He’s a monster.”

On traditional underrated choice Slavin from the Carolina Hurricanes: “It’s sort of specifying where everybody’s discussing him and individuals are sort of observing, however he’s so excellent. I’ll state him once again, however it’s most likely the in 2015. I still believe he does not get as much credit as he should.”

And on Charlie Coyle, a veteran entering huge shoes in the Boston Bruins’ lineup and assisting lead them to the East’s finest record: “He changed (Patrice) Bergeron actually well. He wins faceoffs and does a great deal of things for them.”

He’s the lacrosse-style objective king, was on the cover of EA Sports’ NHL 2023 and is popular with the kids, however can he lead a group to the playoffs?

NHLers still have some doubts about Zegras.

” A great deal of buzz around him, in regards to a few of the cool objectives and plays that he’s made,” one stated. “I seem like that does not equate to a daily kind of (gamer). He was on the cover of the NHL (video game). There was a great deal of buzz, I ‘d state.

” Absolutely nothing versus the guy. I simply believe that got hyped a lot rather of the play, regularly, night-in, night-out on the ice.”



Is Trevor Zegras actually the NHL’s most overrated gamer? His Ducks colleagues react

Nurse, the second-leading vote-getter, on the other hand, was singled out more for his agreement ($ 9.25 million typical yearly worth) than for his on-ice worth or buzz.

” He’s a hell of a gamer,” one gamer stated. “I simply believe he makes the like Makar, which’s sort of insane.”

Matthew Tkachuk and the Dallas Stars’ Robertson, both coming off 109-point seasons and betting leading groups, register as a little a surprise, connecting for the third-most votes. The reason? Great gamers, however not ones who belong in the real top-top tier of NHLers.

On Tkachuk, one gamer stated, “He got overvalued in the playoffs in 2015. Everybody was discussing him being among the very best gamers on the planet. I do not see it. He’s a terrific gamer, however individuals discuss him like he’s leading 10 on the planet.”

And another on Robertson: “Often you do not actually see him throughout the video game and he completes with 3 points. He still produces, however for me, he’s not like MacKinnon. He’s a game-changer, however not like these guys.”

” I make certain everyone has stated Marchand, right?” one gamer stated. Really, no! The Panthers’ Cousins appears to have actually taken the “most-hated challenger” crown from the Bruins’ captain.

” Bet him a long period of time,” one gamer stated of Cousins. “Constantly disliked the guy.”

” He’s gon na get a great deal of responses on this one,” another appropriately anticipated.

” I’m pals with him and I ‘d still state him,” stated a 3rd.

Not that Marchand does not still get some, um, love here, too.

” I enjoy the guy, however it’s most likely Marchand for sure,” one gamer stated.

” I indicate, Marchand’s constantly a great (gamer) you wish to punch,” another stated.

Other preferred least-favorites?

On destiny’ Marchment: “I believe he dives a bit.”

On Washington Capitals’ huge male Wilson: “He’s not a rat. I appreciate that. However I ‘d still like to punch him.”

And on the Buffalo Sabres’ Skinner: “He’s simply frustrating to bet.”

McCauley and Sutherland are icons of the reffing occupation, and as is most likely anticipated, they can be found in as the leading 2 choices here.

For NHL gamers, the refs’ approachability and interaction are essential.

” He’ll talk with you if you get a charge,” one gamer stated of McCauley, an NHL ref because 2003. “He’ll inform you what you did incorrect. He’s not one of those self-centered guys who will attempt to take control of a video game. He is among the sincere guys.”

” You can talk with him,” another agreed. “He’ll inform you what he saw on a call you didn’t like– factor with you. There’s more of a human component.”

McCauley’s on-ice style likewise got compliments, with one gamer stating he’s “kinda amusing,” another stating “he appears to have a good time” and a 3rd stating “I like the theatrics.”

On Sutherland, an NHL ref because 2000, gamers made a point of how proactive he’ll remain in letting them understand where the line is.

” He may even come near me and state, ‘Hey, listen, you were borderline there. If you do that once again, I may call you,'” one gamer stated. “He’ll sort of offer you a caution if it’s something he believes is a little ticky-tacky.”

” He interacts the very best,” another stated. “I keep in mind a couple of years back, he made a bad call. … We had him the next night, and he waited by our bus, so when (the gamer) came off the bus, he might inform him he messed up that call and state he was sorry. Simply the very best communicator, and guys have a great deal of regard for that.”

Other refs got comparable congratulations for interaction, however the most typical response was summarized by one gamer who elected McCauley: “He’s the only ref whose name I understand.”

In the mid-1990s, refs stopped using names on their jerseys, and as an outcome, “I do not understand any of them,” one gamer stated.

” God, I want I understood their names,” another included.

” I do not understand enough of them (to respond to),” another stated. “I ‘d understand them by face.”

The Athletic supports referees and didn’t wish to offer gamers this area to take private potshots, so we’ll leave it at the numbers here, beyond indicating a couple of intriguing results/trends:

• St Pierre was the leading option in spite of having a long-lasting injury and now running out the league.

• If McCauley and Sutherland got applauded for their interaction, the reverse held true for votes on worst ref, where commentary focused generally on not offering gamers regard, being conceited and being blocked to discussion.

• And, naturally, the votes opt for the calls. One gamer who elected McCauley as the worst ref stated it was absolutely nothing individual or about interaction. It was simply that “when I understand he’s the ref, I (get required a charge) all the time.”

The Initial 6 might not have actually produced a Stanley Cup champ because 2015, however their jerseys still rule supreme, taking all of the leading areas here.

” You have actually got to go Initial 6,” one gamer stated.

” To me, it was constantly in between the Red Wings and the Blackhawks,” stated another. “I believe Chicago’s got the very best.”

” I like Detroit’s,” another stated. “All the Original Sixes are excellent, however that’s my preferred. It’s such a terrific logo design.”

And on the New York City Rangers, the third-place finisher, one gamer stated: “Their home jersey is so tidy.”

If gamers weren’t choosing the NHL’s initial groups, it appears, they were choosing the most current ones.

Of the Seattle Kraken (very first season 2021-22), one gamer stated, “Those are quite cool, male. The color design is something you have actually never ever seen before.”

And the previous growth group, the Golden Knights (2017-18): “It’s various and special.”

The vote concentrated on groups’ primary home and away jerseys, however many gamers likewise singled out groups’ alternate jerseys, none more than the Ducks’, which got 6 shout-outs.

Among 4 gamers who pointed out the Flames’ “Blasty” jerseys stated, “I keep in mind Iginla in the horse head.”

And speaking of current jerseys, of the Seattle Kraken outside jersey, one gamer stated, “I believe that was the very best jersey we have actually seen” and another just, “Sick.”

Then, naturally, there’s the Jersey jersey: “I enjoy those. They’re so amusing and clean-looking.”

Naturally. This one needed to boil down to Sin City and the City That Never Ever Sleeps.

It’s not simply the dining alternatives and night life. It’s the arena experience, gamers stated.

” Simply the environment,” one stated of Vegas. “As quickly as you go out for warmups, it’s a club ambiance. Everybody is simply buzzing.”

” The energy because structure is insane,” another stated.

” The environment is ill, the rink’s ill, the hotels are ill,” another included. “The entire journey to Vegas is unbelievable.”

On the other hand, as one gamer stated, “You can never ever fail with New york city.”

” Many locations to walk, most excellent dining establishments you can discover,” another stated. “And undoubtedly playing in Madison Square Garden is something unique whenever.”

” I enjoy MSG,” a 3rd agreed.

Other competitors?

On Chicago: “I enjoy the anthem, and I believe the city’s excellent. Great environment. Not as huge as New york city, so I do not seem like the walls are surrounding me if I’m there for a couple of days. I indicate, I enjoy New york city, however it gets hectic in a rush. Chicago, I believe it’s got whatever: the arts, the sports, excellent dining establishments. However it’s not as crowded as New york city.”

On Sunrise/Ft. Lauderdale: “I enjoy the weather condition and beaches.”

On Nashville: “I’m a huge c and w guy.”

On Dallas: “Great weather condition. Such a great location to invest a day.”

And Tampa: “The fans are excellent” and, “It’s simply loud, rowdy.”

Winter and very little to do around the arena …

It’s not simply Winnipeg. That’s the style with all of the leading choices.

However, yes, Winnipeg more than anywhere else.

” It’s constantly so cold,” one gamer stated of Winnipeg. “I do not have anything versus individuals or the city.”

” Cold. Grey. Very little to do,” another stated.

” Absolutely nothing to do,” echoed a 3rd.

The problems about Ottawa were comparable, though numerous gamers stated it’s the rink place, not the city.

” I have actually heard the downtown is really excellent,” one gamer stated. “However where the rink is … absolutely nothing there.”

” We constantly remain by the rink, and it’s sort of out in the middle of no place,” another stated.

Buffalo? Very same offer.

” It simply appears bleak when you arrive,” one gamer stated.

” There’s very little in Buffalo,” another included.

Raleigh, N.C., can be found in 4th, however the problems there had absolutely nothing to do with the environment or regional activities.

” Their locker space is horrible,” one gamer stated.

” Bad dressing spaces,” another agreed.

” Worst dressing space without a doubt,” stated a 3rd.

And what of the Arizona Coyotes and their college arena experiment?

” That arena is pet dogs–,” one gamer stated.

” Need to never ever remain in the NHL,” included another.

” It’s worthless,” stated a 3rd. “It’s not The Program. Can’t take it seriously.”

Problems in other places were a bit more particular, from the unfortunate fan base in San Jose to the size of the dressing-room stalls in Washington to the “hotel we remain in” in Minneapolis/St. Paul. And naturally, on Columbus:

” The cannon.”

( Leading graphic by John Bradford/ The Athletic, with pictures from Mike Ehrmann, Jonathan Kozub and Michael Martin/ Getty Images)

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