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FORWARD PROGRESS
Michael Farber
January 19, 2004
McGuire also ranks the top 10 NHL forwards who are 22 and younger
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January 19, 2004

Forward Progress

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McGuire also ranks the top 10 NHL forwards who are 22 and younger

1. LW RICK NASH, 19, Blue Jackets
Power forward with soft hands; excels in the slot, wins tough battles for pucks down low; league leader with 25 goals.

2. LW ILYA KOVALCHUK, 20, Thrashers
Speed merchant has some of the best one-on-one moves in the NHL; hard, accurate shot enables him to score from a distance, especially when playing the point on power plays.

3. C JASON SPEZZA, 20, Senators
Strong on the puck, he makes the players around him better; difficult to defend because of his excellent vision and scoring touch.

4. F PATRICE BERGERON, 18, Bruins
Smart all-around player who is versatile enough to play each forward position; with outstanding hands and stickhandling ability, he was second among rookies with 11 goals.

5. C MATT STAJAN, 20, Maple Leafs
Similar to Bergeron in his understanding of the game; despite being only 6'1" and 180 pounds, his high skill level and first-rate defensive ability make him valuable.

6. C ERIC STAAL, 19, Hurricanes
A pure scorer (his 19 points rank second on the team) with soft hands who finds open areas in defensive coverage; quick release often catches goaltenders off-guard.

7. C-LW TUOMO RUTTU, 20, Blackhawks
Physical player who handles the puck at his feet as well as any young player, which makes him a demon along the boards; with strong hockey sense, he doesn't need much room to make plays.

8. C NATHAN HORTON, 18, Panthers
Two-way player who brings to mind a young Bryan Trottier; not afraid to mix it up, he'll have lots of scars on his face by the time his career is finished.

9. LW RAFFI TORRES, 22, Oilers
A 6-foot, 215-pounder, he's thick, powerful and devastating on the forecheck; great speed also allows him to create offensive chances. (He was second on the team with 12 goals.)

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