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In players’ poll, Lightning’s Victor Hedman named top defenseman

Andrei Vasilevskiy finishes second in the goalie category behind Carey Price.

The Lightning’s Victor Hedman was selected the top defenseman for a second straight year and Andrei Vasilevskiy was second in the goalie category in the NHL Players’ Association’s annual poll of players released Tuesday.

Hedman got 196 votes, 85 more than Washington’s John Carlson. Montreal’s Carey Price repeated as the league’s top goalie with 214 votes, 127 ahead of Vasilevskiy.

The Lightning’s Pat Maroon finished fourth as best trash talker. For the second straight year, Boston’s Brad Marchand was named both the best and worst trash talker.

Oilers captain Connor McDavid is still regarded as the NHL’s top forward, and Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby was named the most complete player.

The NHLPA said 588 players participated in the 21-question poll, which covered topics involving skills, arenas, teams and off-ice fun. That category ranged from who they considered the league’s best golfer (Dallas’ Joe Pavelski) to the top player to follow on social media (New Jersey’s P.K. Subban).

This is the third consecutive year the NHLPA has conducted the poll.

McDavid was the overwhelming favorite as the league’s top forward. He received 379 of 555 votes, followed by Crosby (83) and Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon (37).

Crosby finished first in two other categories, including the league’s most complete player. He received 230 of 506 votes, beating out Boston’s Patrice Bergeron (129), Florida’s Aleksander Barkov (38) and St. Louis’ Ryan O’Reilly (27).

With 224 votes (68 more than McDavid), Crosby also topped the list of who players would want on their team when needing to win one game.

Other categories:

Game-day dress code: Players overwhelmingly favor relaxing the rule requiring a suit and tie. Players voted 411 to 152 in favoring the NBA’s dress-code policy, which requires players wearing “business or conservative attire” when arriving at and leaving a game.

World’s best female player: Canada’s Marie-Philip Poulin got 198 votes to edge out America’s Hilary Knight (180). America’s Kendal Coyne Schofield (77) finished third.

Past or present player that others would pay to see play: Wayne Gretzky was the top vote-getter with 155, followed by Bobby Orr (73), Mario Lemieux (45) and McDavid (38).

Best ice: Montreal’s Bell Centre won for a third consecutive year, followed by Edmonton’s Rogers Place and Winnipeg’s Bell MTS Place.

Best mascot: Philadelphia’s Gritty was the runaway winner for a second straight year, followed by Nashville’s Gnash and Arizona’s Howler.

Funniest: Florida defenseman Keith Yandle was the repeat winner.

Bouwmeester improving

Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo said teammate Jay Bouwmeester is in good health seven weeks after having a cardioverter defibrillator implanted in his chest. Pietrangelo said he and his teammates have been visiting Bouwmeester, who is taking walks through their St. Louis-area neighborhood. Bouwmeester, 36, collapsed on the bench during a game on Feb. 11.