As one might expect, the core Boston Bruins players are among the most respected among their peers around the NHL.
It was proven out again this season with several Bruins ranking high in the 2020-21 NHLPA Player Poll. Nearly 500 players were surveyed on 14 wide-ranging topics with the majority of players interestingly in favor of the baseball-style multi-game series schedule that was adopted this season where NHL teams would play back-to-back games in the same city.
But the questions also veered into on-the-ice categories with players responding to several categories, including the “most complete player” where Sidney Crosby and Patrice Bergeron wound up in a tie for first place with 23.78 percent split of the first place votes among all players ahead of Aleksander Barkov, Connor McDavid and Nathan MacKinnon.
David Pastrnak ranked third behind Auston Matthews and Alex Ovechkin, and one spot ahead of McDavid, as the NHL’s best goal-scorer while Tuukka Rask finished in the top five for “best goalie” behind Andrei Vasilevskiy. Marc-Andre Fleury, Carey Price and Connor Hellebuyck.
Bergeron also finished tied with Andrei Vasilevskiy for fourth with the question: “If you need to win one game, who is the one player (any position) you would want on your team?” The only players ahead of No. 37 on the poll were McDavid, Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon.
The respect around the league shown for Bergeron shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody.
“He’s been one of our many leaders for years now. Now he just has the captain’s letter on his chest. He hasn’t changed at all,” said Tuukka Rask, during the B’s playoff run before it was cut short against the Islanders. “I think everybody knows what kind of player and a person he is, especially in a clutch game. He’s been our leader for many years. He hasn’t done anything out of the ordinary. I think he just wants to be himself, lead vocally and by example, and he’s done that all year and even in the playoffs.”
Pastrnak finished as one of the players with the “best shot” as he finished in the running with Alex Ovechkin, Auston Matthews, Shea Weber, Patrik Laine and MacKinnon as his peers. The flashy Bruins right winger also finished as the top vote-getter for the “most unique tape job” on his sticks and finished second behind only Matthews as “the most fashionable” player in the NHL.
Certainly, there is plenty of evidence as to why Pastrnak should have been tops in that category as well.
“I like fashion, you know.”
— NHL on NBC Sports (@NHLonNBCSports) May 30, 2021
Perhaps most interesting about the survey is which Bruins player is not on there. Brad Marchand had arguably the best season of any member of the Perfection Line and should get heavy consideration for the Hart Trophy, but No. 63 didn’t show up anywhere on any of the categories when he’s been among the most prolific, clutch players across the entire league over the last five years. Regardless of how they finished in a player’s poll, both Bergeron and Marchand voiced to Boston Bruins management that they’d like to take one more run at the Stanley Cup next season given how many of their core guys are still at the top of their game.
All due respect to the NHLPA poll, that’s the only kind of popularity contest that the B’s leaders are concerned with winning these days.