NHL players weigh in on underrated players, goalie equipment, PEDs and more

ESPN isn't a very reliable source for hockey coverage, but on occasion the media giant surprises us and produces something worth sharing. In an anonymous survey with an undisclosed number of NHL players, ESPN unearthed some fascinating insights on topics such as overrated, underrated and dirty players. They also asked about coaches, equipment, expansion and PEDs.

The results of the survey might surprise you. 

Most underrated: 
Alexander Steen – STL – 13.3%
Nicklas Backstrom – WAS – 10%
Pavel Datsyuk – DET – 10%

Fans in St. Louis have known for quite some time that Steen is an extremely valuable forward and one of the most overlooked players in the league. The Blues know what they have and hope to keep him in St. Louis beyond 2013-14. 

Pretty impressive that despite all of the praise Datsyuk receives, some believe he's still underrated. A great testament to his talent in hockey. 

Most overrated:
Dion Phaneuf – TOR – 13.3%
Henrik Lundqvist – NYR – 6.7%
Carl Hagelin – NYR – 3.3%. 

No surprise with Phaneuf, but it's interesting seeing two Rangers on the list. 

Dirtiest player:
Matt Cooke – MIN – 30%
Dustin Byfuglien – WIN – 7%
Niklas Kronwall – DET – 7%

Images don't change overnight, Matt Cooke.  

Smartest coach:
Dan Bylsma – PIT – 26.7%
Mike Babcock – DET – 20%
Joel Quenneville – CHI – 20%

Are goalie pads still too big? 
Yes – 36.7%
No – 63.3%

Would you play in the KHL?
Yes – 16.7%
No – 56.6%
Maybe – 23.3%

Once you learn about some of the travel nightmares in the KHL, you probably wouldn't want to play there either. 

In favor of expansion?
Yes – 56.7%
No – 30%
Don't know – 13.3%

Probably good most are in favor as it's only a matter of time before new teams are introduced to the NHL. 

Should Olympic athletes show support for gay rights?
Yes – 88%
No – 12%

Abolish instigator rule?
Yes – 60%
No – 23.3%
Don't know – 16.7%

Think a teammate is taking PEDs?
Yes – 20%
No – 80%

We thought the number believing PEDs are involved might be higher. 

Which city deserves an NHL team?
Seattle – 37%
Quebec City – 27%
Any Canadian City – 17%

Seattle would be one of our first choices as well. 

Realignment helps?
Red Wings – 13.3%
Blue Jackets – 3.3%
Flyers – 3.3%
Jets – 3.3%

Detroit leaving the extremely tough West seems like a benefit. 

Realignment hurts?
Red Wings – 20.8%
Jets – 16.7%
Eastern Conference – 16.7%

However, it appears some think realignment hurts Detroit. Clearly it mostly hurts the East as the odds of making the playoffs are worse in the East than they are in the West. 

About David Rogers

Editor for The Comeback and Contributing Editor for Awful Announcing. Lover of hockey, soccer and all things pop culture.