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NHL Free Agency: Who the Canucks are targeting and who they may land

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With Guentzel’s negotiation rights traded to Tampa, Reinhart expected to stay in Florida, the Canucks could be running out of UFA options. Or, maybe not

Location. Location. Location.

That common refrain is the first thing a real-estate agent tries to sell to a prospective homeowner. For an NHL general manager selling his club’s qualities at, or before commencement of free agency Monday morning, the pitch remains the same.

Location can mean filling a roster need. It can mean competitive trajectory. It can mean what the city offers. If the Vancouver Canucks can convince a free agent of those attractive qualities, then they can tackle the bottom line in a bottom-line business where salary and terms are the foundation of any deal.

And because Florida is a tax-free state, the Panthers and Lightning may have a leg up on the Canucks in retaining a star player or attracting one.

Highly-coveted, top-six winger Jake Guentzel, 29, has been on the Vancouver radar longer than a weather forecast during monsoon season. His Pittsburgh Penguins history with the hockey operations department and its willingness to exceed financial demands for the proven playoff performer — he was offered an eight-year, US$64 million deal to remain with the Carolina Hurricanes — was thought to be goods to get Guentzel to the west coast.

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However, with Tampa Bay not expected to retain versatile veteran UFA Steven Stamkos, 34, — they’ve offered shorter annual value and longer term at $3 million annual for eight years — they’ll need to fill that big void and are hot after Guentzel. The pitch is promise of the clubs’s competitive stature and that tax-free state carrot.

And it will help the Bolts keep pace with the Panthers. It’s why Tampa responded by trading for negotiation rights for Guentzel, which means they’re sold on getting a deal done in advance of Monday. It cost the Lightning a third-round draft pick in 2025.

It doesn’t mean the Canucks are out of the mix, but it does mean the price is going skyrocket if he gets to the open market. However, in the end, players want the money and they want to win. The Canucks’ core would be attractive to Guentzel and so would $9.5 million annually in a seven-year commitment.

The same hope applies to UFA Sam Reinhart with an added twist.

The North Vancouver native, 28, is Plan B on the Canucks’ wish list, but his remarkable 57-goal season and prominence to help the Panthers capture their first Stanley Cup has the Panthers talking extension, but they also have to sign Brandon Montour and may have to choose. If a Reinhart deal comes to fruition, then UFA Tyler Toffoli, 32, could be Plan C, if the Los Angeles Kings don’t come calling. Anze Kopitar needs a left winger.

And then maybe Jake DeBrusk, 27, turns into Plan D. Or, maybe there’s a Plan E?

If the Canucks tumble too far down that alphabet plan, then they’ll need two wingers. The big catch is designed to align with Elias Pettersson, but who’s manning the left side with J.T. Miller? Pius Suter saw time there this season, but is probably better suited as the third line centre and Teddy Blueger the fourth-line pivot.

And how is the back end going to play out with the expected free-agency departure of UFA defenceman Nikita Zadorov? It’s why with Chris Tanev, 34, joining the Toronto Maple Leafs, there’s interest in Surrey native Brenden Dillon, 33, of the Winnipeg Jets. He will be pursued by the New Jersey Devils in free agency and there’s a second thought here on Ian Cole not getting to the market.

Here’s a look at how all this was shaping up Sunday:

nhl free agency Jake Guentzel
Jake Guentzel is a finisher on the biggest stage and doesn’t shy away from the spotlight. Photo by Karl B DeBlaker /AP

Jake Guentzel

The goods: Has had a pair of 40-goal seasons and 38 goals in 69 playoff games, including four in six Stanley Cup Final outings. He’s a finisher on the biggest stage and doesn’t shy away from the spotlight. His 30 goals in 67 games this season with the Penguins and Hurricanes were a warm-up for the second season where he struck four times in 11 games.

Earned a Stanley Cup ring in 2016 as a Penguins rookie and his 21 points (13-8) in 25 playoff games were a hint of future potential.

The price: To cover off the tax break Guentzel could get in Tampa, the Canucks will have had to come in north of $9 million in annual average value.


nhl free agency Sam Reinhart
Sam Reinhart just goes out and does this thing. Photo by Bruce Bennett /Getty Images

Sam Reinhart

The goods: His monster career-high 57 goals in the regular season ranked second overall and he was first with 27 on the power play. Added 10 post-season goals to prove he could more than live up to the grind. Gets to the tough areas and scored a lot in front of the net in high slot with a very quick and deceptive release. Very humble. Just goes out and does this thing.

In 2021, the Canucks could have made a play for the disgruntled Reinhart who wanted out of Buffalo, but they went another way in a multiplayer swap that summer with the Arizona Coyotes.

The price: His expiring cap hit of $6.5 million will get a big boost. He’ll get market value, which means at least $8 million in AAV.


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Canucks winger Tyler Toffoli celebrates his goal with linemate Elias Pettersson against the Senators on Feb. 27, 2020. Photo by Marc DesRosiers /USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Toffoli

The goods: Surpassed the 30-goal total last two seasons with 33 in 2023-24 split between New Jersey Devils and Jets and 34 the previous season with the Calgary Flames. We know the history here. Toffoli developed instant chemistry with Pettersson and Miller and had 10 points (6-4) in his first 10 games after being acquired in a February, 2020 trade with the Los Angeles Kings. COVID-19 then shut down the regular season.

Toffoli loved it here and wanted to finish his career in Vancouver. However, he wasn’t offered a contract and four days into free agency, he fled to the Montreal Canadiens at a bargain $4.25 million cap hit. Toffoli torched the Canucks the following season in eight Canadian Division games with 13 points (8-5), including a hat trick.

The price: Likely his last contract and the fit, familiarity and city might get it done. Shorter term and $5 million? Wants more which the Kings could offer.


nhl free agency Jake DeBrusk
Jake DeBrusk was struggling in Boston and had requested a trade before finding his game. Photo by Derek Cain /Getty Images

Jake DeBrusk

The goods: Not the first time the big winger has been in speculation as a possible Canucks fit. Two years ago amid considering Miller’s future worth amid constant trade rumours, DeBrusk was in the what-would-we-get? mix. He was struggling in Boston and had requested a trade before finding his game.

A Miller acquisition would have given the Bruins added strength down the middle in Patrice Bergeron, Charlie Coyle and Tomas Nosek. And with Bergeron contemplating retirement at that time, Miller could have slid into that centre role. DeBrusk had 27 goals in 2023-24, 19 this season and five in the playoffs.

The price: The Canucks are in win-now mode. Short commitment at $4.5 to $5 million AAV.


nhl free agency Brenden Dillon
Brenden Dillon is a consistent and dependable 20-point defender. Photo by Jeff Roberson /THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Brenden Dillon

The goods: A consistent and dependable 20-point defender who has hit that plateau in each of the last there seasons. Might be a placeholder fit here on limited term because he has the size at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds. But that isn’t expected to occur.

The price: No hometown discount on expiring $3.9 million cap hit. The Devils are prepared to buck up after trading John Marino.

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Malaika Mihambo and Dennis Schröder Lead Germany’s Diverse Olympic Team to Paris 2024

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“The goals have definitely not changed,” Malaika Mihambo declared in a recent television interview, reaffirming her determination to compete in the 2024 Olympic Games despite a recent setback from a coronavirus infection. The 30-year-old long jumper aims to defend her Olympic gold medal, which she won in Tokyo in 2021.

While Mihambo is a seasoned Olympian, Paris 2024 will mark a special debut for Dennis Schröder, the captain of Germany’s 2023 world champion basketball team. “It has always been a goal of mine to be at the Olympic Games,” said the 30-year-old Brooklyn Nets player.

Mihambo and Schröder are among the stars of the German Olympic team, which showcases remarkable diversity with around 450 top athletes. This team includes individual talents such as tennis stars Angelique Kerber, the silver medallist at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, and Alexander Zverev, the 2021 Olympic champion in Tokyo. Notable teams include the men’s basketball team led by Schröder, the women’s football team, and the men’s handball team.

Among the experienced Olympic stars is table tennis player Timo Boll, who has won several team medals and is immensely popular in China and beyond. Dressage rider Isabell Werth, with seven Olympic gold medals, aims to match the all-time record of nine gold medals held by Soviet gymnast Larissa Latynina.

Some German athletes, though not yet household names, have garnered attention with impressive performances leading up to the Games. In athletics, the women’s 4×100 meter relay team, decathlete Leo Neugebauer, and marathon runner Amanal Petros stand out. Trend sports also feature promising talents like surfers Camilla Kemp and Tim Elter, and 17-year-old skateboarder Lilly Stoephasius, who will compete in her second Olympic Games.

Swimmer Angelina Köhler has recently emerged as a star, winning gold in the 100 meter butterfly at the 2024 World Championships. Köhler, who has openly discussed her ADHD diagnosis, described participating in the Olympics as fulfilling “a very, very big childhood dream.”

As Germany heads to Paris, this diverse and dynamic team aims to leave a significant mark on the 2024 Olympic Games.

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Thomas Müller: The End of an Era for Germany’s Iconic #13

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It is difficult to write something about Thomas Müller that hasn’t been written before, yet at the same time, it is difficult to capture his essence in mere words. That alone is an indicator of his distinctive nature as a person and brilliance as a footballer.

It is said commonly, there will never be another Thomas Müller. And that rings true today more than ever, for Germany, for football.

Germany has dominated world football so often throughout history, each era marked by superstars in their own right. And even then, Thomas Müller remains unique, apart from the rest. The idea of a dominant die Mannschaft in the ‘modern era’ of football immediately prompts the mental image of an overjoyed Müller wearing any variation of the iconic white-black German kits, busy shouting in celebration amidst the euphoria of scoring yet another goal for his country on the biggest of stages.

Efficient, unorthodox, enigmatic – yet somehow simple. Everywhere he needed to be on the pitch, yet he left the greatest of defenders oblivious, unable to predict his next move. A goalscorer and creator simultaneously and equally brilliant at doing both. Unapologetically himself – both on and off the pitch.

You’d never be mesmerized by Müller’s touch, flair, or skills. But you’d be mesmerized nonetheless. Unpredictable off-the-ball movement, a surprise element with the ball, and a shot from such unbelievable angles that you’d never believe how it found the net. And even then what forever remained stuck in the minds of fans and opponents alike was the scene that followed after his heroics in the opposition box — a group of elated Germans heralding around Müller as the scoreboard reads a scoreline just as memorable.

A little boy from the south of Bavaria had a dream and had the entire world watch as he lived it to the fullest. Müller represented his country a total of 131 times and somehow every single time he was a pleasure to watch and a menace to face. The lights were bright, but he shone brighter.

His football was messy but incredibly effective. Tall, scrawny, and the furthest thing from muscular, but it worked to his advantage. He was never the “typical footballer” — concerning both his personality and playstyle. He was so good at everything going forward that the orthodox football terms didn’t apply. No problem for Müller – “Ich bin ein Raumdeuter,” said the star clearing things up about his position and inventing a role in football no one other than himself has or ever will truly master.

Germany’s first game at the 2010 World Cup saw Müller walk onto the pitch with the number 13 on his back. The same number was coincidentally also worn by legendary German striker Gerd Müller at the ‘76 finals. Thomas scored that night — it was the first of 45 goals he would go on to score for his nation. The fans (and notably Gerd himself) were overjoyed to see a German named Müller, squad number #13, scoring for Germany again after so many decades.

Speaking postgame about his first international goal, Müller said while laughing: “I was just trying to boost the sales of the Müller replica shirts!” – the first of many playful Müller interviews after a masterclass for Germany. 14 years and 44 goals later, Thomas has made that jersey number his as much as it was Gerd’s.

Thomas Müller — forever Germany’s beloved #13.

What once was a need to prove himself and do everything in his power to lead his country to victory turned into a feeling of grounded pride for what he’s greatly helped achieve, but the desire to win never died. Müller, even after everything, still put in the same effort he did on day one.

There was never a dull moment watching Müller play for his country. Not everything has changed — over all these years, Müller has had the same playfulness, the same laugh, the same witty statements that never failed to make fans smile. He is just as loveable as a person as he is as a footballer. “I don’t have any muscles – how can I get hurt?”, or “I already have one Golden Boot, what will I do with another?” Müller captivated audiences with both his football and his words.

Müller playing for Germany is what made myself (and so many others) a fan of the beautiful game – because the game was only beautiful when Müller had the ball. A mesmerized young boy and a superstar footballer formed an unlikely, one-sided bond over the television screen a decade ago, and that bond only strengthened over the years.

As Müller announces his international retirement today, it is difficult to fathom that we might never see such an icon play for Germany ever again. We might never see him celebrate or joke around in the Germany shirt. We might never see someone represent everything German football stood for as well as Müller did. We might never see him film a challenge video with Mats Hummels at the German camp. And we might never forget the heartbreak of his last game for Germany.

Yet we as fans can look back on one of the greatest international careers of all time. His antics on the world stage are some of the best highlights of a career filled with highlights. There is no need to mention his countless achievements for his country – he is the most decorated German player of all time after all. Even then, Müller, who has always had impeccable timing knew exactly when it was his time to depart. He didn’t want to push it or ever make things about himself.

Müller’s iconic moments turned into unforgettable games. Those unforgettable games made legendary tournaments. And those legendary tournaments? They are the crown jewels of an illustrious career.

So here is a thank you, from the bottom of our hearts – thank you for showing us what football is really about. Thank you for some of the greatest memories a football fan could ask for. Thank you for always giving everything on the pitch, and finally – thank you for being yourself. We will never forget Thomas Müller in the iconic German white. Danke, Thomas.

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Missed Opportunities Plague Yankees in 6-4 Loss to Rays

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NEW YORK — The New York Yankees fell to the Tampa Bay Rays 6-4 on Sunday afternoon, continuing a troubling trend of failing to capitalize on scoring opportunities. The loss came despite Aaron Judge’s efforts, including his MLB-leading 35th home run of the season.

The Yankees’ inability to hit with runners in scoring position (RISP) was the primary issue. In the first inning, hits from Juan Soto and Aaron Judge loaded the bases, but Gleyber Torres and Alex Verdugo couldn’t drive in any runs. Soto then grounded into a double play to end the second inning with the bases loaded.

Aaron Judge hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning, his 35th of the season, bringing the Yankees within two runs. However, his contribution was not enough to overcome the deficit. Marcus Stroman pitched 5.1 innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits, including two home runs. He struck out five and did not walk any batters. Despite his solid performance, he received minimal run support.

Gleyber Torres made a critical error in the fourth inning, leading to a run. His 0-for-4 performance at the plate dropped his batting average to .229, adding to the Yankees’ woes. Yankees manager Aaron Boone was ejected after disputing a strike call on Alex Verdugo. This marked his 38th career ejection and fifth of the season.

Soto’s ninth-inning RBI double provided some hope, but it was too little, too late. The Rays’ Jose Caballero homered in the ninth, extending their lead and sealing the victory.

The Yankees began the series with a 6-1 win on Friday but faltered with a 9-1 loss on Saturday, followed by Sunday’s 6-4 defeat. This inconsistency has been a recurring issue for the team. Despite the loss, the Yankees (59-42) remain two games behind the Baltimore Orioles (60-39) for first place in the AL East, as the Orioles also lost 3-2 to the Texas Rangers.

Aaron Judge commented, “No weight. I’ve got good guys behind me. It’s baseball. You’re going to go through some ups and downs, and you’re going to click for a little bit, but there’s months where other guys are going to carry this team and there’s months where I’ve got to pick it up and carry the team, and it’s all part of it.”

Marcus Stroman reflected, “It’s hard to be incredible for 162. I think we have a lot of confidence … how good (Soto has) been — all year, him and Judge — I think we’re kind of losing sight of how incredible those two guys have been. So they can’t do everything, each and every single time. We can’t put all the pressure on them.”

Aaron Boone added, “This game’s hard for us right now, and we’ve got to find a way. We know we’re better than this, and we’ve got to come ready and salvage a series tomorrow.”

The Yankees will aim to split the series against the Rays in the final game on Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET. With their recent struggles in key situations, the team must find a way to improve their performance with runners in scoring position to turn their season around.

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