Sabres' O'Reilly is considered the fifth most underrated player in the NHL

March 12, 2018

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - Ryan O’Reilly was voted by the players around the league as one of the top five most underrated players in the National Hockey League. O’Reilly came in 5th behind Aleksander Barkov of Florida, Nikita Kucherov of Tampa Bay, Jaden Schwartz from St. Louis and number one was Nicklas Backstrom from Washington.

O’Reilly has been an up and down player since being acquired from Colorado. He was very humbled that he finished so high in the NHLPA players poll, “It was nice to see, it means a lot when guys think that of myself and it’s just a cool thing.

“It was unexpected, but truthfully I don’t really think about it that much, it’s not something I worry about getting ready for the next game, but it’s guys looking and saying maybe he affects the game more and it’s nice that guys recognize those little things, so it’s a compliment.”

Connor McDavid from Edmonton was voted the league’s fastest skater. McDavid got 81 percent of the votes.

The most difficult goalie to score on was Montreal’s Carey Price by a landslide.

NHL players think Sidney Crosby of the Penguins is the most difficult player to play against. He got 29.9 percent of the player’s vote, while McDavid got 23.7.

Ryan Reaves of the Golden Knights is thought of to be the NHL’s toughest player by a wide margin over Milan Lucic of the Oilers.

Crosby was voted to be the league’s best role model. Crosby got 33 percent of the vote. Jonathan Toews of the Blackhawks was next with only 9.6 percent.

As you can probably guess, most players thought McDavid is the guy you’d want to start a franchise with.

One of the closest votes was which defenseman is toughest to play against. Erik Karlsson of Ottawa got 22.1 percent of the votes while the Kings Drew Doughty got 20.4 percent.

In an even closer vote, Crosby is the most difficult forward to play against over McDavid. Crosby got 30.4 percent of the votes while the Oilers star got 30.1 percent.

When players were asked what quality they admired most from a teammate, work ethic won out over team player, honesty, loyalty and respect.

If you need a player to win one game for you Crosby was number one followed by McDavid, Price, Pat Kane and Karlsson.

Here’s one Jeremy White won’t like. Players were asked if they like the way points are currently awarded for a win or loss in the regular season, 77.7 percent said yes.

Joel Quenneville is the coach that the players most want to play for. Mike Babcock finished 4th.

Wes McCauley was chosen the best referee by a huge margin.

The Bell Center in Montreal is the arena that is the favorite amongst players. Players think Montreal has the best ice too.

The worst ice goes to the Florida Panthers in Sunrise, Florida.

Players think the Blackhawks have the best fans with 30.4 percent of the votes followed by Nashville.

With four days in between games, Phil Housley gave the team Sunday and Monday off. They’ll practice on Tuesday and Wednesday before hosting Toronto on Thursday.