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Ranking trade deadline bubble teams

Updated: January 31, 2012, 3:12 PM ET
By Craig Custance

The NHL is back. Thirteen games signal the return from the All-Star break, but the importance of those games among the teams competing isn't equal.

An NHL GM who will be a clear buyer at the deadline was asked whether he thought the Tampa Bay Lightning would be clear-cut sellers at the deadline. He said the next 10 days are absolutely crucial. They will determine everything with that team.

He could have been speaking about a number of teams. This stretch of games will help shape the plans of several general managers before the Feb. 27 trade deadline.

Buy or sell? The next 10 days are the most crucial to these five trade deadline bubble teams:

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