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Fire on Ice: Power Ranking the NHL’s 25 Fastest Skaters

Tom SchreierCorrespondent IJuly 29, 2010

Fire on Ice: Power Ranking the NHL’s 25 Fastest Skaters

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Speed is not everything in the NHL, but often, players who can turn up the jets at the right time will find themselves on an island with only a goaltender in their way.

    All 25 players listed in this slideshow can get a step on the best defensemen in the league and should make a major impact for their respective teams next year.

25. Brett Lebda (Toronto Maple Leafs)

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24. Jason Chimera (Washington Capitals)

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23. Dan Boyle (San Jose Sharks)

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22. Jay Bouwmeester (Calgary Flames)

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21. Matt Duchene (Colorado Avalanche)

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20. Sergei Samsonov (Carolina Hurricanes)

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    A longtime Bruin, Samsonov has bounced around after leaving Boston in 2005, but found a home with the Hurricanes.

    Samsonov, 31, has lost a step since he is older, but still remains one of the quickest players in the league.

    The following clip displays Samsonov's speed as he bursts by two defensemen and puts the puck home against the Maple Leafs.

19. Matt Cullen (Minnesota Wild)

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18. Mike Green (Washington Capitals)

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17. Mikhail Grabovski (Toronto Maple Leafs)

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    An important part of the rebuilding project in Toronto, Belarusian winger Mikhail Grabovski's ability to skate past defensemen allowed him to tally 20 goals in his first full NHL season.

    Grabovski's steady hands compliment his speed well and allow him to score goals like the one displayed above.

16. Milan Michalek (Ottawa Senators)

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15. Ilya Kovalchuk (unsigned)

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14. Brian Campbell (Chicago Blackhawks)

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13. Martin St. Louis (Tampa Bay Lightning)

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12. Patrick Marleau (San Jose Sharks)

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    Marleau, 30, has been able to increase his production late in his career because of his ability to retain his speed.

    With 44 goals last year, Marleau eclipsed the 40-goal mark for the first time in his 12-year career.

    In the following video Marleau uses his speed to get into position to put home a game-winning overtime goal against the Red Wings in the 2010 Playoffs.

11. Maxim Afinogenov (unsigned)

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    Maxim Afinogenov earned the nickname "Baby Bure," in reference to fellow Russian superstar Pavel Bure, because of the dynamic speed he has displayed in his 10-year career.

    The longtime Buffalo Sabre joined the Thrashers last year and had an impressive season after a let down in 2008.

    In his return to Buffalo last year, Afinogenov scored one of the best goals of the 2010 seasons, his first as a Thrasher, which is displayed above.

10. Jeff Carter (Philadelphia Flyers)

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    A player on the rise, and a major part of the Flyers' Stanley Cup run last year, Carter has netted 30-plus goals in the last two years by using his legs.

    One of the best players in the NHL without the puck, he uses his speed to get to the right position to score, as displayed in the clip above.

9. Zach Parise (New Jersey Devils)

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    A 30-goal scorer since his sophomore season with the powerhouse New Jersey Devils in 2006, Parise made a name for himself last year by netting a timely goal in the final game of the Vancouver Olympics.

    Parise's dynamic speed and soft hands has made him one of the best players in the NHL.

    On display above is Parise's greatest scoring effort, in which he uses a blend of speed and stickhandling to navigate through Colorado's defense and net a brilliant goal.

8. Phil Kessel (Toronto Maple Leafs)

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    After a 36-goal season in 2008, Kessel joined the Toronto Maple Leafs and netted 30 goals for his new team.

    In the clip above, Kessel uses his dynamic speed to dance around two Florida defensemen and get the biscuit behind one of the best goaltenders in the league, Tomas Vokoun.

7. Andy McDonald (St. Louis Blues)

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    A vital part of the youth movement in St. Louis, Andy McDonald is one of the fastest skaters in professional hockey.

    As the Blues, who reached the playoffs two years ago, continue to climb up the NHL hierarchy, McDonald, who helped Anaheim win a Stanley Cup in 2007, should get more recognition.

    The following is a clip that displays McDonald's ability to use his speed to get himself in position to score against one of the game's best goaltenders, Chris Mason.

6. Darren Helm (Detroit Red Wings)

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    The only player to win a Stanley Cup before his rookie year, Darren Helm's speed has made him a major steal for the Red Wings (132nd overall in 2005).

    Helm appears to be on the rise and is one of the best young players on the elderly Red Wings squad.

    The following clip displays Helm's ability to kill a penalty using his speed during the 2008 playoffs.

5. Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks)

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    One of the many stars on Chicago's Stanley Cup-winning team last season, Kane uses his dynamic speed to make up for his small size.

    Two years ago, Kane, who has had at least 20 goals in his three years in the league, made a name for himself in the playoffs by entering the zone and ripping a shot like the one displayed above.

4. Mason Raymond (Vancouver Canucks)

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    This product of the University of Minnesota-Duluth has been a great second-round pickup for the Canucks.

    With his blazing speed, Raymond can break out of the neutral zone and paralyze defenders.

    In the clip above, Raymond uses his speed to beat the Canadiens' defense off of the draw and net an early goal.

3. Matthew Lombardi (Nashville Predators)

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    The Predators, who lost Dan Hamhuis and Jason Arnott in the offseason, made a big pickup by acquiring Matthew Lombardi.

    One of the few players to be drafted twice (215th overall, 2000 and 90th overall, 2002), Lombardi can fly. With two 40-point seasons in the last two years, Lombardi should be able to continue to produce in Nashville.

    In the clip above, Lombardi nets a beautiful give-and-go goal while playing against the Tampa Bay Lightning last year.

2. Marian Gaborik (New York Rangers)

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    The first player drafted by expansion Minnesota in 2000, Gaborik was the face of the Wild franchise until he left for New York following a disappointing 2008 season.

    Gaborik's speed and ability to dangle defensemen makes him one of the best goal scorers in the league.

    The following video shows all five goals Gaborik scored against his current team, the Rangers, in a 2007 game.

1. Andrew Cogliano (Edmonton Oilers)

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    The 25th overall pick in 2005, the speedy Andrew Cogliano is a major part of the rebuilding process in Edmonton.

    His blazing speed has allowed him to net 18 goals in his first two seasons, but he'll have to avoid a slump like he had last season if he's going to help the Oilers become relevant again.

    Above is a complete version of the 2009 All-Star skills competition, where Cogliano was named the fastest player.

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