Auston Matthews tops two categories in NHLPA Player Poll

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TORONTO, ON - MAY 31:  Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Montreal Canadiens during Game Seven of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on May 31, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Canadiens defeated the Map[le Leafs 3-1 to win series 4 games to 3. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - MAY 31: Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Montreal Canadiens. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

It is time, once again, to review the results of the annual NHLPA Player Poll, which is mostly just a re-hashing of common standing opinions, but also a window into some of the views held and shared among the league's player membership.

To start, we do have a little bit of valuable information to report in the fallout of this very unique, COVID-19-navigated NHL season. Players were asked if they wanted the temporary region-based divisions — which of course included an all-Canadian sector — carried forward beyond this season, and more than two thirds of the 500 players surveyed voted no. However, the players are in majority favour of seeing a series-style schedule implemented moving forward, which would theoretically cut down on travel, with another two thirds voting in the affirmative with that. 

Elsewhere, the results seemed to boost Auston Matthews' brand as a volume-scoring, fashion-forward individual. He was voted the league's best goal scorer over Alexander Ovechkin, receiving over 46 percent of the vote, while also being voted most fashionable by a wide margin. The Great Eight did, however, receive the nod for best shot.

It seems the player population agrees with the head coaches, general managers and potentially the voting membership on major NHL awards, naming Victor Hedman the best defenseman with nearly a 65 percent majority, despite many arguing that his season wasn't worth major accolades. 

The results were similarly wide for Andrei Vasilevskiy, who received the nod as the NHL's best netminder, and justifiably so, while Sidney Crosby and Brad Marchand each received a 23.78 percent share of the vote on the league's most complete player.

Finally, the membership got it absolutely correct, naming the Colorado Avalanche's Reverse Retro jerseys as the NHL's best, while acknowledging the Los Angeles Kings as a distant second.

Until next year.

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