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NHL Rankings...By Jerry Butler

March 3, 2003

1-Dallas Defenseman Richard Matvichuk has been the weak link on the blueline during the Stars current cold streak.

2-Ottawa Hard working Shaun Van Allen has been an important role player for the Senators.

3-Vancouver High flying Markus Naslund should definitely be the favorite for the MVP award.

4-New Jersey How could a player with as much skill as Patrik Elias have only 17 goals in 63 games?

5-Colorado It will be interesting to see if GM Pierre Lacroix pulls the trigger on another blockbuster deal before the trade deadline.

6-Detroit Curtis Joseph has not been the elite goaltender for the Wings that he was in his four seasons with the Leafs. 7-Philadelphia With only 1 goal in 11 games Sami Kapanen has yet to make the kind of impact on offense that the Flyers had hoped he would.

8-Toronto It looks like Shayne Corson is going to get one last chance to keep his spot in the Leafs lineup.

9-St. Louis Pavol Demitra has quietly had another strong season for the Blues.

10-Minnesota Star forward Marian Gaborik has been very quiet on offense for the last month.

11-NY Islanders Defenseman Roman Hamrlik has been a top notch performer at both ends of the ice for the Isles.

12-Tampa Bay With 8 players in double digits in goals scored, the Lightning have the kind of offensive balance that is a rare commodity in the NHL these days.

13-Washington The Caps have managed to win just 2 out of 20 games against teams with a winning record.

14-Anaheim Coach Mike Babcock continues to get maximum results from minimum talent.

15-Nashville Defenseman Kimo Timonen has developed into a very reliable two-way defenseman for the red-hot Predators.

16-Boston The Bruins very shaky team defense continues to be a big problem.

17-NY Rangers The Rangers are finally healthy and they are playing their best hockey of the season, but is it too late to for them to catch the Bruins for the final Playoff spot in the East?

18-Los Angeles The solid play of Jamie Storr makes it almost a certainty that veteran goaltender Felix Potvin is a goner.

19-Edmonton The Oilers have gone winless in 9 games since Ryan Smyth and Jason Smith were injured against the Leafs.

20-Phoenix It looks like the Coyotes are willing to trade goaltender Sean Burke but the asking price will be high.

21-San Jose There will be no untouchables on the Sharks if they don.t get back in the Playoff race before the trade deadline.

22-Montreal With goaltender Jose Theodore having a so-so season there is not a lot to like about this seasons edition of the Canadiens.

23-Chicago If the Hawks fail to make the Playoffs and it appears that they won.t, they can look back at their current 9 game home winless streak as the big reason why.

24-Florida Viktor Kozlov has bounced back from a slow start to play very good hockey for the Panthers.

25-Columbus The Blue Jackets have bounced back from their 0-5 nightmare road trip to play back to back top notch home games against the Oilers and the Kings.

26-Pittsburgh The Penguins looked like a team that can.t wait for the season to end being outscored by a 13-2 margin in losing all 3 games of their just completed road trip.

27-Atlanta Milan Hnilicka has looked sharp between the pipes since his recall from the AHL two weeks ago.

28-Calgary Scrappy Martin Gelinas has played some very good hockey in his first season with the Flames.

29-Buffalo The word out of Buffalo is that Alexei Zhitnik, Miroslav Satan and Chris Gratton are all available to the highest bidder.

30-Carolina The Hurricanes have completely fallen apart since team leader Rod Brind.Amour went down with a hand injury in mid January.

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