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NHL Rankings...By Jerry Butler

NHL Rankings December 16, 2002 By: Jerry Butler

1-Dallas Defenseman Philippe Boucher has turned out to be an excellent addition on the backline for the Stars.

2-Vancouver Physically, emotionally and spiritually, Ed Jovanoski is the heart and soul of the Canucks defense.

3-Minnesota Impressive road wins over the Canucks and the Wings are making the critics sit up and take notice.

4-Boston Goalie John Grahame has done an excellent job of replacing departed Byron Dafoe.

5-Ottawa The Senators 12-1-3 record in their last 15 outings is very impressive indeed.

6-Detroit The Red Wings expect to pick up the pace offensively when Steve Yzerman comes off of the injured list.

7-New Jersey Coach Pat Burns is not a big fan of slumping Patrik Elias.

8-Philadelphia Veteran Jeremy Roenick has played some very solid hockey for the Flyers this season.

9- St. Louis Thirty nine year old Al MacInnis is still a very good hockey player and one of the key members of the Blues team.

10-Edmonton Excellent team defense continues to be the strength of the Oilers squad.

11-Tampa Bay With 25 assists in 31 games, winger Brad Richards has developed into an excellent playmaker for the Lightning.

12-Anaheim The hard working, tight checking Ducks have to be one of the biggest surprises of the first half of the season.

13-Los Angeles When the Kings are healthy they can play with any team in the NHL. 14-Toronto The excellent play of Eddie Belfour is making the Leafs fans forget all about goaltender Curtis Joseph.

15-Carolina The Hurricanes have not been the same team since goaltender Kevin Weekes went down with a concussion.

16-Montreal Speedy winger Richard Zednik has quietly had a very strong season for the Canadiens.

17-Colorado The Av.s lack of talent and depth is becoming more evident with each passing game.

18-Chicago Troubled winger Theo Fleury has been a solid contributor in his first 6 games since being activated from the suspended list.

19-San Jose The Marcus Ragnarsson for Dan McGilis trade was a strange move by the Sharks.

20-Florida Highly touted defender Jay Boumeester has not yet settled in on the blueline for the Panthers.

21-Pittsburgh The Penguins have been hit hard by injuries during the course of their current 8 game losing streak.

22-Columbus Goaltender Marc Denis has been the teams MVP through the Jackets first 30 games.

23-NY Islanders Forwards Brad Isbister and Dave Scatchard continue to be rumored to be headed out of town.

24-Washington This season.s edition of the Caps does not have the look of a Playoff team.

25-NY Rangers The Rangers gave up an awful lot for overrated and underachieving goalie Mike Dunham.

26-Nashville The very strong play of Tomas Vokoun and the chance to acquire hard hitting Tomas Kloucek were the main reasons the Predators made the Mike Dunham trade.

27-Phoenix The Coyotes have really missed goaltender Sean Burke.

28-Buffalo With only 8 points in 29 games and a minus 12 plus-minus rating, Tim Connolly has easily been the biggest disappointment of the season for the Sabres.

29-Calgary The Flames have scored 2 goals or less in 15 out of their last 17 games.

30-Atlanta The Thrashers continue to give up to many shots and way to many quality scoring chances.

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