In NHL player survey, Cale Makar wins big, MacKinnon bested by McDavid

Mar 22, 2023, 2:30 PM

Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar...

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Cale Makar is the best defenseman in the NHL.

That’s not me saying it, it’s his fellow players.

And it’s not like the like Conn Smythe, Norris and Calder Trophy winner needed another accolade, but he received one on Wednesday when the NHLPA released its annual player survey. In a poll conducted anonymously of 626 players this year, Makar ran away with the vote for best defenseman.

In a percentage gap that wasn’t even close, 63.9% of the respondents deemed Makar the best defenseman in the NHL. Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman came in second with 11.4% of the total, while Nashville’s Roman Josi was third with 6.0% of the survey. That means nearly 400 players said Makar is the top dog.

Meanwhile, in a bit of a surprising result, Edmonton star Connor McDavid won big over Avs phenom Nathan MacKinnon in the most significant category at their position. The question was phrased “In a must-win game, which forward do you think would be most impactful?” — and McDavid took it in a landslide.

The Oilers center received 59.3% of the vote for that one. MacKinnon checked in third, with 8.4% of the tally. His good buddy, Penguins veteran Sidney Crosby was second with 11.0% of the total. MacKinnon also got third for “best stick-handler” and fifth for “most complete player.”

Makar being the best defenseman isn’t a surprise. His trophy case is absolutely loaded and he’s only 24-years-old. He legitimately has a shot to go down as the best at his position in NHL history, as Wayne Gretzky alluded to last summer.

For MacKinnon, while he still showed out in a big way, receiving top-5 votes in three categories, some disrespect remains. The Avs swept the Oilers a season ago, and while McDavid is exceptional, that apparently played little to no part in this survey. We’ll see if a second ring this summer could make a difference next year.

If you want to see the full results, including some “off-ice” votes, click here.



Valeri Nichushkin...

Will Petersen

Valeri Nichushkin appears to be back in Russia based on photo

It's the first time Nichushkin has been seen in any public forum since leaving the Avs before Game 3 in their series against Seattle

1 day ago

Adam Silver...

Jake Shapiro

Adam Silver knows ongoing Altitude/Comcast dispute is an issue needing a fix

Twice in two days NBA commissioner Adam Silver took to a microphone to voice his thoughts on the ongoing Comcast dispute with Altitude TV

6 days ago

Valeri Nichushkin...

Will Petersen

9NEWS obtains body camera video of incident involving Nichushkin

Seattle PD muted the audio at several key moments that could detail more of Nichushkin's involvement in the whole ordeal

7 days ago

Andrew Cogliano...

Will Petersen

A few weeks after fracturing his neck, Andrew Cogliano goes to Nuggets game

It's a great sign that Cogliano was out and about, after he missed the Avalanche's Game 7 loss thanks to the horrific injury on a very sketchy hit

21 days ago

Gabriel Landeskog...

Will Petersen

A day after surgery, Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog posts positive update

We'll see if Landeskog can ever be the same player again, or even get on the ice at all, but it looks like the captain is taking everything in stride

28 days ago

Gabriel Landeskog Valeri Nichushkin...

Mike Evans

The Avalanche face huge uncertainty heading into offseason

With two key players becoming huge question marks and a farm system that hasn't produced of late, Colorado might become a one-hit wonder

29 days ago

In NHL player survey, Cale Makar wins big, MacKinnon bested by McDavid