Back in July, we conducted a poll of executives, coaches and a couple players to see which players they would build a franchise around if they were starting a team from scratch. It was an attempt to rank the league's franchise players, and it led to some fascinating results and debate.
Jonathan Toews edged Sidney Crosby for the top spot, with the Stanley Cup playoff performance of Drew Doughty still fresh in the mind of voters, who put him third on the list.
This week in New York, many of the franchise players who were named by executives gathered for the player media tour, the unofficial kickoff to the NHL season. It was an opportunity to give the players a chance to answer the same question. The same rules applied: Players were asked to list three players they'd want if they were starting a franchise from the ground up.
A few players wanted to add their own ground rules. Tyler Seguin felt compelled to pick teammates, so he added a rule that you couldn't pick your own teammates. Some guys followed the rule, others didn't.
Claude Giroux introduced the idea of picking himself, to which we had no objection. Henrik Lundqvist, however, saw a conflict of interest there.
"Am I the GM?" Lundqvist asked. "Then I'm not picking myself."
He quickly identified Sidney Crosby, then paused for a moment. "This is tough."
And with that, here are the results, giving three points to a first-place vote, two for a second and one for a third:
Sidney Crosby (19 points): Crosby finished a close second to Jonathan Toews when executives voted, but he ran away with it among the players.