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NHL Rankings...By Jerry Butler

For February 24, 2003

1-Dallas Defenseman Philippe Boucher has been an excellent addition to the Stars blueline brigade.

2-Ottawa Captain Daniel Alfredsson continues to be the on-ice leader for a top notch Senators team.

3-Vancouver Veteran Trevor Linden has been a very dependable role player for the red-hot Canucks.

4-New Jersey Look for GM Lou Lamariello to pull off a major trade before the trade deadline. 5-Toronto With 7 points in his first 5 games, Gary Roberts has shown no signs of his 9 month layoff.

6-Colorado Rugged Adam Foote has been the main man on defense for the high-flying Avalanche.

7-Detroit The Wings have developed some bad habits in their first season without Scotty Bowman as Coach. 8-Philadelphia The Flyers like what they have seen from recently acquired forward Eric Chouinard.

9-St. Louis The more the Blues continue to struggle the more likely they will pull the trigger on a trade for veteran net minder Sean Burke.

10-Anaheim Excellent goaltending and strong defensive play continue to be the strength of the Ducks team.

11-NY Islanders Garth Snow has done an excellent job between the pipes since Chris Osgood went down with an ankle injury 4 weeks ago.

12-Minnesota The Wild will go only as far as their goaltending and defensive play takes them.

13-Tampa Bay The fine home play of the Lightning is the main reason they are in the hunt for first place in the Southeast Division.

14-Washington Unheralded Kip Miller has been a very solid performer for the Caps.

15-Boston Bryan Berard.s play has fallen off considerably since his impressive early season start.

16-Edmonton Shaky goaltending and poor defense are the main reasons for the Oilers current 1-6 streak.

17-Nashville The Predators have played excellent hockey during the 2nd half of the season.

18-Los Angeles Rumors out of LA suggest the Kings could be one of the busiest teams in the league before the trade deadline.

19-Phoenix Mike Johnson is leading the team in scoring and playing some of the best hockey of his career for the Coyotes.

20-Montreal The Canadiens are very pleased with the play of backup goaltender Mathieu Garon.

21-Florida The Panthers play with a lot more poise than you would expect from a very young team.

22-Chicago Too many veteran players along for the ride has been the reason for the Blackhawks second half slide.

23-NY Rangers Tom Poti has played fairly well on offense but his lack of a physical game and his extremely poor play in his own end continue to hurt the Rangers.

24-Pittsburgh If Mario Lemieux decides to retire in the off-season it is hard to imagine the Penguins franchise being able to survive in Pittsburgh.

25-San Jose With only 3 goals in his last 25 games it has become more than obvious; Teemu Selanne is still a solid but no longer a dominant player.

26-Columbus The Blue Jackets have a lot of very good veteran players that will draw interest before the trade deadline.

27-Carolina Goaltender Kevin Weeks has been absolutely brilliant between the pipes for the Hurricanes in his last 8 starts.

28-Buffalo Twenty two year veteran James Patrick has been a reliable player on defense for the Sabres.

29-Calgary The Chris Drury to New Jersey for Scott Gomez rumor makes a lot of sense for both teams.

30-Atlanta The signing of free agent goaltender Byron Dafoe has turned out to be a disaster for the Thrashers. When he isn.t injured, his poor play has him relegated to the role of a rarely used backup.

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