The torch has been passed in at least one respect.
TSN just released its annual Top 50 NHL players poll leading up to the 2017-18 season, and Sidney Crosby no longer checks in at No. 1. This marks the first time in the poll’s eight-year history that Crosby failed to secure the top spot, as a panel of 22 TSN experts decided that Conor McDavid currently is the best player in the NHL.
McDavid earned 59 percent of the first-place votes to top Crosby, who earned 100 percent of first-place votes in last year’s poll. McDavid is coming off a sophomore season with the Edmonton Oilers in which he totaled 30 goals and 70 assists. The 20-year-old was the only player in the league with 100 points.
Crosby, who’s long been a dominant force for the Pittsburgh Penguins, ranks No. 2 this year. Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane and Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price are third, fourth and fifth, respectively.
Eight players who are 22 years old or younger cracked the top 50. This includes 21-year-old David Pastrnak, who just signed a new six-year, $40 million contract with the Boston Bruins. Pastrnak, who ranks No. 36, is one of three Bruins to appear on this year’s poll, as Brad Marchand (No. 18) and Patrice Bergeron (No. 25) also made the cut.
This is Pastrnak’s first time appearing on the list. Marchand made it for the first time last year, checking in at No. 30. Bergeron, a mainstay, was No. 14 in 2016 and has finished No. 35 or higher in each of the last six seasons, with his best ranking coming in 2014 (No. 13).
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