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Arizona Coyotes give up not so very much indeed to acquire Taylor Hall – Edmonton Journal



The Arizona Coyotes have acquired Taylor Hall. It’s more than a one for one deal. But the pieces that the New Jersey Devils are getting back are all fairly small ones.

Edmonton’s rivals in Arizona gave up a top three lottery-protected first-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, a third-round selection (conditional) in 2021, plus prospects Kevin Bahl, Nick Merkley and Nate Schnarr for Hall and Blake Speers. New Jersey will also retain 50 per cent of Hall’s salary for this year.

Said Arizona GM John Chayka to reporters: “Taylor Hall is one of the elite talents in the game today; a Hart Trophy winner, high-end playmaker and one of the NHL’s most talented forwards. We are beyond thrilled to add Taylor to our team as we continue in our mission of bringing a Stanley Cup home to Arizona.”

It was an OK-ish return for Hall, but there is no obvious outstanding prospect heading NJ’s way, not even a prospect as good as Erik Brannstrom, the return that Ottawa got for Mark Stone (along with a second round pick).

“Underwhelming return for Taylor Hall,” said long-time hockey writer Larry Brooks of the New York Post. “Devils got quantity. I’d have gone for quality. If one-for-one, so be it, but here’s NJ, with one playoff appearance and one playoff game victory since 2012, right back in the rebuild morass. Rangers may have gotten more quality for Hayes and Nash.”

“I’d feel pretty good about that deal if I was Arizona,” said Jeff Chapman, writer for the Copper & Blue blog.

Jim Matheson of the Journal noted: “(Oilers GM Ken) Holland hopes his team can make playoffs but hardly a given so an unconditional first-rounder was likely never in play for Hall, even if he’d have helped immensely on LW. Not for an absolute rental…Ariz feels they’ve got enough small F’s in Keller and Garland so Merkley was expendable. They kept their best D prospect Victor Soderstrom and gave up the six-foot-7 Bahl… Yeah, having Taylor Hall now playing in Arizona, the team they’re battling for playoff spot with is not the best news if you’re an Oiler fan.”

At the Cult of Hockey, Kurt Leavins said: “Hall deal. Not ideal to have him in the Pacific division. But if I’m Ken Holland, I also would not have paid the below for a rental, even for a guy like Hallsy who I’ve made no secret that I value highly. On the Oilers GM’s list for July 1st now.”

And Dustin Nielson of TSN1260: “Kudos to Ken Holland for keeping his powder dry today. Smart move.”

And Joe Haggerty, a NBC TV hockey columnist: “That’s a lot of assets headed to New Jersey for Taylor Hall. Not sure how high end any of those prospects are, however. Credit the Coyotes for going all in for this season.”

And Mark Spector of Sportsnet: “A couple of thoughts on Oilers and the Hall trade: – This wasn’t the time to give up the kind of assets that NJ got in return. Edmonton isn’t good enough to justify dealing 1st & 2nd rd. picks and one of their young Dmen (Bouchard, Bear, Broberg) for a player who may go UFA. GM Holland has had one summer with very little cap space to tweak roster. He needs to make this team better, deeper, and then consider trades like this. Too many holes in the roster right now. Could lose in Rd. 1, and watch Hall walk. Team just isn’t ready for a deal like this.”

At The Athletic, writer Corey Pronman has Bahl as the third top prospect in Arizona’s mid-ranked farm system, after Barrett Hayton and Victor Soderstrom. Said Pronman: “Bahl projects to be one of the top physical forces in the league as a 6-foot-6 defenseman who leans on checks regularly… He won’t be a power play guy in the NHL, but he’s got average hands and has good offensive instincts. Under pressure he can be forced into errors, but he also made some impressive plays last season that convinced me there’s more there. You add in OK feet – but very good for his size – and there’s NHL projection there for a guy who can take on a regular shift in the NHL and kill a lot of plays.”

He had Merkley, the 30th overall pick in the 2015 draft, ranked fifth. “When Merkley returned from injury, he continued his success from the previous season in the AHL, although he didn’t really take a step forward. Merkley’s strengths continue to be evident… The concern is his very average skating ability, particularly for a smaller forward, combined with concern among some scouts about what his ultimate role will be if he can’t score in the NHL.”

Nate Schnarr, the 75th pick in the 2017 draft, is a rookie centre in the AHL, with 9 points in 22 games. Merkley, 22, has 16 points in 26 AHL games this year, but just three goals.

What would an equivalent offer from Oilers have been?

If the Oilers had made such a trade, what might an equivalent offer have been?

Well, the same protected first round and conditional third round picks, obviously. As for players, Cooper Marody is a solid comparison for Merkley at this point, with Kirill Maksimov a stand-in for Schnarr, and maybe Dmitry Samorukov is a good Bahl comparison, though Pronman had Samorukov rated slightly higher than Bahl heading into this season.

Add it all up and Edmonton’s comparable offer would have been Marody, Maksimov, Samorukov, a first and a third round pick in return for about 45 games of Taylor Hall.

Will any of those players or picks pan out for the Oilers? If Edmonton uses those pieces to trade for other players at the deadline, will the Oilers be able to improve the team more than they would have if they had traded for Hall?

Let the debate begin, as I’m sure it will. Me, I’m kind of meh on the whole thing. I’m not convinced that giving up such players would have been a good or a bad move, but the risk of Edmonton (or Arizona) collapsing and missing the playoffs and giving up a Top 10 NHL draft pick is too great for me to have favoured making such a move. If Arizona slides out of a playoff spot — which is entirely possible even with Hall — this trade could backfire big time on them.

This was a risk Holland didn’t have to take — and I’m glad he didn’t.

At the Cult of Hockey

McCURDY: Oilers getting the small but crucial details wrong

STAPLES: Taylor Hall trade saga becoming a fiasco

LEAVINS: 9 Things column

STAPLES: Uggo defensive lapses lead to 4-1 loss to the Leafs

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Lightning’s Steven Stamkos ruled out for remainder of Stanley Cup Final –



EDMONTON — The only way we’ll see Steven Stamkos return to the Stanley Cup Final is if the Tampa Bay Lightning are able to finish the job without him.

The hard-luck captain was officially ruled out of the series by the Lightning on Sunday morning, but could still be called on to accept the Stanley Cup from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

“Hopefully the next time we see him on the ice is during a trophy presentation,” said Lightning head coach Jon Cooper.

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No team has won the Stanley Cup without its captain in the lineup since the 1936-37 Detroit Red Wings, who were without Doug Young. The Boston Bruins did not have a designated captain in 1970 and 1972, but Johnny Bucyk accepted the trophy both years and played in the clinching game.

Stamkos has been battling an undisclosed injury throughout these playoffs. He made an emotional return for Game 3 of the Cup Final against the Dallas Stars and scored a beautiful goal, but was unable to play after the first period that night.

The 30-year-old saw a total of five shifts while spending nine weeks inside the NHL bubble rehabbing.

“He gamed it out,” said Cooper. “To be honest I didn’t think he was playing at all in these playoffs. I don’t think any of us did. So he gave us 2:47 of brilliant hockey, that’s a phenomenal story.

“He scored a huge goal for us in a win.”

The Lightning hold a 3-2 series lead over Dallas entering Game 6 on Monday.

Stamkos is the longest-tenured member of the organization and has endured a difficult run of injuries throughout his career. A broken leg saw him miss the chance to play for Team Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and blood clots forced him out of all but one game of Tampa’s 2016 run to the Eastern Conference Final.

He had a 15-game points streak going when he got injured on Feb. 25 this season. That was followed by core muscle surgery on March 2. Stamkos appeared to be on the mend while participating in training camp following the COVID-19 pause, but he suffered some kind of setback that kept him out until the brief, memorable appearance in this Stanley Cup Final.

“He did everything he could to get back, and he did get back, and unfortunately he couldn’t go any further,” said Cooper.

From the Stanley Cup Qualifiers to the Stanley Cup Final, livestream every game of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, blackout-free, on Sportsnet NOW.

It’s been a difficult journey.

Stamkos was clearly moved after being called out to join Victor Hedman, Ryan McDonagh and Alex Killorn in accepting the Prince of Wales Trophy last round and sounded emotional after scoring against Dallas in the Game 3 win.

He remained on the bench throughout that game, and tested his skating stride during a couple television timeouts, but didn’t play for the final 46 minutes. He gave everything he could.

“I’ve watched these guys be so committed to what our end goal is, and to be part of it tonight, it was a dream come true and I’m so proud of these guys,” Stamkos said that night. “And to be able to share that moment with them and just even be on the bench and watch how well we played tonight, I have told these guys before: It’s inspiring.

“It was great to be part of.”

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Dana White reveals who’s next for Israel Adesanya and Jan Blachowicz – MMA Fighting



Israel Adesanya was dazzling in his title defense and Jan Blachowicz cemented himself as the new light heavyweight champion as the UFC 253 main and co-main events both ended in dramatic fashion.

While Adesanya and Blachowicz will undoubtedly enjoy their victories with a well-deserved post-fight celebration, it didn’t take long for the subject of their next fight to be raised on Saturday night.

In fact, it was Adesanya himself who made the call about the top contender in the middleweight division. He immediately turned his attention to Jared Cannonier, who’s been on his radar for the past year.

Cannonier is currently preparing for a showdown with former champion Robert Whittaker at UFC 254 in October. If he’s victorious, Cannonier should expect his next fight to come against Adesanya with the middleweight title up for grabs.

“That’s the fight if Cannonier wins,” UFC president Dana White confirmed at the UFC 253 post fight press conference. “And I love that about Israel. He’s ready for who’s next, who else thinks they can beat me. The kid is an absolute stud.”

Adesanya will undoubtedly be keeping a close eye on Cannonier’s fight in just a few weeks to see if his next opponent is secured or not.

Things aren’t quite as clear cut at light heavyweight, but there are only a few options that make sense for Blachowicz after he dispatched Dominick Reyes in impressive fashion to claim the vacant title.

The Polish veteran made it clear just after the belt was wrapped around his waist that he would like to cement his championship status by facing Jon Jones, who vacated the belt just recently with the intention of moving up to the heavyweight division.

Jones even went as far as hinting on Twitter that perhaps he could return to 205 pounds now that a challenger like Blachowicz exists for him but obviously nothing is set in stone at this point.

The other fight that could determine the next contender for the light heavyweight title will take place on Nov. 7 when Thiago Santos goes to battle with Glover Teixeira.

White confirmed the winner of that fight would earn the next crack at the new 205-pound champion unless Jones really did decide he wanted to return to his old stomping grounds.

“Those are the guys that are fighting for the next shot,” White said about Santos vs. Teixeira. “But obviously if Jon Jones wanted that fight, we wouldn’t deny Jon Jones the opportunity.”

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Stamkos out for remainder of playoffs – TSN



Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said forward Steven Stamkos will not return in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. “Hopefully next time we see him on the ice is during the trophy presentation,” Cooper said.

The 30-year-old returned to the Lightning lineup for the first time since February in Game 3 and scored a goal, but only had five shifts, playing just 2:47.

Stamkos skated off gingerly at the end of his final shift in the first period and was not on the bench for the start of the second. He returned to the bench and took a few twirls to test out the injury but did not return and was deemed “unfit to play” for Game 4.

Stamkos, who last played Feb. 25, had surgery in early March and aggravated the injury at least once over the summer.

Tampa Bay leads the series 3-2.

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