Connor McDavid won the NHL All-Star Skills Competition in Toronto, a US$1 million prize
Connor McDavid has helped the NHL revamp a flabby skills competition.
Then the Edmonton Oilers captain came out and won the $1 million American prize.
McDavid won the fastest skater, stickhandling, shot accuracy and obstacle course events on Friday after helping the league reimagine a part of the weekend that had lost much of its luster in recent years.
Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar finished second. David Pastrnak (Boston), Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado), Leon Draisaitl (Edmonton), Nikita Kucherov (Tampa Bay), Auston Matthews (Toronto), William Nylander (Toronto), Elias Pettersson (Vancouver), Mathew Barzal (New York Islanders). , JT Miller (Vancouver) and Quinn Hughes (Vancouver) make up the rest of the field.
Last year’s disappointing skills competition in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, featured events on a golf course and on the beach, a total flop that had the NHL looking to reignite interest for both players and fans.
The skills competition came on the heels of an All-Star selection of players on Thursday ahead of a four-team showcase on Saturday at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.
The 12 players competed in four of the first six events – Fastest Skater, Hardest Shot, Stick Handling, One-Hand Shot, as well as Passing and Shooting Accuracy – with points awarded to each competitor.
Two more competitors were eliminated before the final event – an obstacle course.
Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was also on the ice alongside injured Chicago center and 2023 No. 1 pick Connor Bedard.
McDavid won fastest skater for the fourth time, completing his scorching turn on the ice at Scotiabank Arena in 13.408 seconds to edge out Barzal (13.519), who beat the three-time NHL MVP in the same event in 2020.
MacKinnon won the new one-off event, which saw points awarded for where the ball hit the net.
Pettersson faced the challenge of passing accuracy after some fans began booing Kucherov as the striker appeared not to be putting enough effort into the event.
Makar wins with the hardest shot
Makar won the hardest hit with a blast of 102.56 mph. However, Zdeno Chara’s record of 108.8 mph from 2012 remains safe for at least another year.
McDavid won the stick-handling event with a time of 25.755 seconds. The NHL points leader this season, Kucherov once again strolled through the course, drawing more boos from the crowd.
McDavid, a native of nearby Richmond Hill, Ont., competing in his actual hometown at a rink where he watched the Maple Leafs growing up, then notched another shot-making accuracy win by going 4-for-4 in just 9.158 seconds. After finishing second last year.
The top eight — McDavid, Makar, Barzal, Peterson, Matthews, Miller, McKinnon, Nylander — advanced to the individual shootout event.
Nylander won that competition with a stunning display that included a one-handed breakaway from the Swede that was reminiscent of compatriot Petter Forsberg’s penalty kill at the 1994 Olympics, while Colorado’s Alexander Georgiev won $100,000 for best goaltending performance.
Peterson and MacKinnon were eliminated, leaving six players remaining in the final obstacle course, where McDavid won with a time of 40.606 seconds — and the $1 million payday.