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NHL Rankings...By Jerry Butler

NHL Rankings for December 30, 2002 By: Jerry Butler

1-Ottawa Rookie goalie Martin Prusek has won his first 6 starts for the red-hot Senators.

2-Detroit With Steve Yzerman not expected back until next year at the earliest, look for the Wings to trade for some offense before the trade deadline.

3-Vancouver With only 2 goals in 34 games, Henrik Sedin has displayed none of the qualities you would expect from a number 1 draft choice.

4-Dallas Power forward Billy Guerin has been a valuable addition to the much improved Stars.

5-New Jersey Rumors out of NJ have the Devils very interested in a trade for a high profile offensive player.

6-Boston Veteran forward Mike Knuble has played very solid hockey for the Bruins.

7-St. Louis Veteran Scott Mellanby has been a reliable player for the Blues.

8-Philadelphia GM Bobby Clarke has put the pressure on struggling forward Keith Primeau to score more goals.

9-Colorado After missing the first 23 games with back problems, Dean McAmmond has returned to play solid hockey for the Avalanche.

10-Minnesota Marian Gaborik is an outstanding young player who is having a great year but the Wild are finding out that he can.t do it by himself.

11-Tampa Bay The Lightning need Fredrik Modin to play like he did in back to back wins over the Rangers and the Bruins.

12-Edmonton Journeyman defenseman Steve Staios has been solid on the backline for the Oilers.

13-Chicago The Blackhawks continue to be very disappointed with the play of bruising winger Chris Simon.

14-Toronto Bryan McCabe has just 1 goal in 30 games after scoring 17 goals last season.

15-Montreal With only 2 goals in 29 games Donald Audette is about to wear out his welcome with his 5th team in the last 5 years.

16-Los Angeles Injuries to Adam Deadmarsh and Jason Allison have put a crimp in the Kings offense.

17-Anaheim The Ducks have given up just 8 goals in their last 8 home games but some very poor defense has led to 3 straight road losses.

18-Pittsburgh The small market Penguins may be forced to trade star forward Alex Kovalev due to salary constraints.

19-Washington The Caps are currently playing their best hockey of the season.

20-Carolina After being sidelined for nearly 3 weeks with a concussion, goalie Kevin Weekes has come back and played good hockey for the struggling Hurricanes.

21-San Jose Winger Niklas Sundstrom has too much skill to have only 1 goal in his first 36 games.

22-NY Islanders On pace to score only 20 goals, Alexei Yashin is hardly earning his 10 million per year salary.

23-Florida The Panthers are starting to develop a reputation of a team that comes to play every night.

24-Phoenix The Coyotes 4-0 win over the Flyers on Saturday shows that they are a totally different team with a healthy Sean Burke in the lineup.

25-NY Rangers Journeyman defender Joel Bouchard has played very strong hockey for a Ranger team that has been decimated by injuries on the blueline.

26-Columbus Mike Sillinger has played poorly at both ends of the ice for the struggling Blue Jackets.

27-Calgary After a red-hot start, Chris Drury has really cooled off for the offensively challenged Flames.

28-Nashville The Predators have allowed 3 goals or less in 14 out of their last 15 games.

29-Atlanta No goals in 13 games and a minus 10 plus-minus rating, Marc Savard has not impressed anyone since coming over from the Flames.

30-Buffalo The Sabres have won just 2 out of their first 16 road games.

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