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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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LeBron Saves Team USA in Thrilling Exhibition Against South Sudan at O2 Arena



LONDON — In what could have been one of the most monumental upsets in international basketball history, Team USA narrowly escaped with a 101-100 victory over a spirited South Sudan team at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday night. This exhibition match, serving as a tune-up for the 2024 Olympics, showcased the rapid rise of South Sudanese basketball and the indomitable spirit of the American team led by LeBron James.

The atmosphere at the O2 Arena was electric, with fans witnessing a game that turned out to be far more competitive than expected. South Sudan, a team composed largely of refugees and players from the diaspora, pushed the heavily favored Americans to their limits.

First Half Highlights:

  • South Sudan came out firing on all cylinders, building a surprising 16-point lead in the second quarter.
  • Team USA struggled with their three-point shooting, missing 12 of their first 13 attempts from beyond the arc.

Despite the odds, South Sudan’s players, many of whom have overcome significant personal and professional challenges, played with remarkable cohesion and determination. Their performance was a testament to the rapid progress the team has made under the guidance of former NBA star Luol Deng.

With the game hanging in the balance, LeBron James demonstrated why he remains one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Benched at the start of the third quarter, James returned to the floor with a determination that was palpable.

Key Moments:

  • Third Quarter: Anthony Davis’ defensive prowess helped shrink the deficit. LeBron’s return brought stability and focus back to Team USA.
  • Final Minute: With just 20 seconds left, JT Thor of South Sudan scored over LeBron, giving his team a one-point lead.
  • Game-Winning Shot: LeBron drove to the basket, scoring the decisive layup with eight seconds remaining.

South Sudan’s journey to this point has been nothing short of inspirational. The country gained independence from Sudan in 2011, and the basketball program, still in its infancy, has quickly become a source of national pride.

Notable Contributions:

  • Carlik Jones: Delivered a triple-double with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.
  • Wenyen Gabriel: LeBron’s former teammate with the Lakers, contributed 11 points.
  • Marial Shayok: Led South Sudan with 24 points.

The team’s formation and rise have been spearheaded by Luol Deng, who played a pivotal role in recruiting and funding the program. His efforts have culminated in South Sudan qualifying for the Olympics, marking a historic achievement for the young nation.

Stephen Curry: “Wild game. They played really intense. It was nice to see how we responded. LeBron with a great finish down the stretch.”

Steve Kerr: “The whole team was embarrassed at halftime. We were challenged today, and it was good for us to feel that now. This was a reminder that we need to bring our best every game.”

Luol Deng: Expressed immense pride in his team’s performance, emphasizing the significance of their journey and the obstacles they have overcome.

This exhibition game was more than just a pre-Olympic warm-up. It highlighted the potential for underdog stories in sports and underscored the global reach and impact of basketball. Team USA, despite the narrow escape, was reminded of the importance of every game and the challenges that lie ahead.

South Sudan, on the other hand, has cemented its place on the international stage, showcasing that with determination and the right support, even the newest teams can compete with the best in the world.

As both teams prepare for the Olympics, this game at the O2 Arena will be remembered not only for its thrilling finish but also for the remarkable stories of resilience and ambition that played out on the court.

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UFC Vegas 94: Amanda Lemos vs. Virna Jandiroba – Main Event Recap



In a thrilling main event at UFC Vegas 94, strawweights Amanda Lemos and Virna Jandiroba faced off on Saturday night. After an evenly matched first round, Jandiroba secured a dramatic submission victory in the second round, just moments before the bell.

Fight Summary:

  • First Round: The opening round was highly competitive, with both fighters showcasing their skills and maintaining a close contest.
  • Second Round: In the final seconds of the second round, Jandiroba managed to secure a submission, forcing Lemos to tap out. The win marks an impressive fourth consecutive victory for Jandiroba.

Post-Fight Remarks:

  • In her post-fight interview inside the Octagon, Jandiroba confidently called out UFC President Dana White, declaring, “Dana, I’m the next one. Dana, I’m your next champion.”

Future Implications:

  • With this victory, Jandiroba has positioned herself as a strong contender for the strawweight title. Tatiana Suarez, who was the rightful next contender for Weili Zhang, has been sidelined due to an injury. Jandiroba’s current four-fight win streak and her dominant performance at UFC Vegas 94 make a compelling case for her title shot.

Stay tuned for more updates as the UFC strawweight division continues to evolve, and see if Virna Jandiroba will indeed become the next challenger for the championship belt.

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Jake Paul vs. Mike Perry: Fight Night Updates



Jake Paul is back in the ring, and he’s promising fireworks as he takes on former UFC star Mike Perry at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. The fight will be broadcast live on DAZN. Originally, Paul was set to fight Mike Tyson, but Perry stepped in after Tyson suffered an injury.

Fight Details:

Jake Paul (9-1, 6 KOs)

  • Paul is coming off a first-round TKO of Ryan Bourland in March.
  • He has promised that Perry won’t survive the second round.
  • Paul is more experienced in boxing but still relatively new to the sport.

Mike Perry (0-1)

  • Perry, known as “Platinum,” brings over a decade of fighting experience, mainly in MMA and bare-knuckle fighting.
  • He believes Paul is still green in the fight business and intends to use his experience to pull off an upset.

Main Event:
Jake Paul vs. Mike Perry

Live Updates: Follow DAZN for all the live updates, results, and highlights from the Paul vs. Perry pay-per-view main card.

Main Card Results:

Amanda Serrano def. Stevie Morgan via TKO

  • Round 2, 0:38
    • Watch the finish

Lucas Bahdi def. H20 Sylve via knockout

  • Round 6, 2:27
    • Watch the finish

Corey Marksman def. Tony Aguilar via majority decision

  • Scores: 76-76, 77-75, 78-74

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. def. Uriah Hall via unanimous decision

  • Scores: 59-55, 59-55, 58-56
    • Recap

Stay tuned for the main event updates and see if Jake Paul can deliver on his promise of another highlight reel knockout or if Mike Perry will teach him a lesson and pull off a major upset.

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