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Taylor Hall Cap Comparables: Is the Coyotes star a $10-million player? –



One year removed from a sterling MVP season, Taylor Hall is once again on the move.

The newly minted Arizona Coyotes winger is set to play out the rest of the season in the desert, where he’ll have the chance to bolster an already impressive Western Conference dark horse. But it’s what happens after the season wraps up that is top of mind, now.

With Hall and the Devils parting ways, it seems there’s a strong chance the 2010 No. 1 pick plays out the year and becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer, opening his doors to the league at large to try to bring him to town.

There’s a chance he stays in Arizona if all goes well, of course. But either way, the most intriguing aspect of the entire saga is what exactly happens once Hall eventually does put pen to paper. With John Tavares upending the way franchise players handle free agency, and the new generation pushing the envelope in terms of what young stars are owed early on in their careers, there’s plenty to sort through to suss out what exactly Hall might be worth.

Hall’s Situation

Before we can look to any external market factors, we have to pin down what exactly Hall is and what he brings to the table.

A few key particulars to highlight: He’ll come to his new deal at age 28, fresh off an injury-shortened 2018-19 season and a tumultuous 2019-20 (though he has seemed to return to form as of late — we’ll get there in a moment). Hall’s last full NHL season saw him win the Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP — surely a bargaining chip that’ll feature prominently in future discussions.

Of course, it’s worth remembering that during Hall’s MVP campaign, he wasn’t necessarily the most dominant player in the league, as has been the case for some other MVPs. With the then-Devil finishing sixth in league scoring, his MVP case was built more on the impact his play had on pulling the Devils up by 27 points and lifting them back into the playoffs for the first time in half a decade. The most telling stat that illustrated that level of import to his team, of course, was the fact that Hall finished 41 points above the next highest-scorer on his team (linemate Nico Hischier) — the highest such differential between a team’s leading scorer and No. 2 in nearly a decade.

All to say that Hall’s MVP season doesn’t necessarily indicate he’s one of the game’s absolute best, but rather that he established himself as a player capable of having a significant impact on raising up his team as a whole (though the 2019-20 Devils’ struggles certainly put a dent in that reputation).

The quick-footed winger put up a career-high 93 points that season, and also has one season above the 80-point plateau, one above 65 and has topped 50 points three other times in his career. He finished just under 40 goals during his MVP bid, but didn’t get above 30 in any others.

In terms of his league-wide impact, Hall’s been among the top 10 scorers in the league since entering the NHL in 2010, having amassed the eighth-most points of any NHLer in that span. Just a year ago, Andrew Berkshire tabbed Hall as the best left winger in the game — beating out game changers like Brad Marchand and Artemi Panarin — drawing attention to the balance of Hall’s elite skill-set.

While the Calgary, Alta., native seemed off to start the year, Berkshire recently explained why the former No. 1 pick has rounded back into form and appears ready to dominate as he did last time he was fully healthy. That being the case, our expectation should be that, with plenty of season left to go, Hall lays down a strong 2019-20 effort and inks his new deal as one of the best wingers in the game (read: he’s going to get paid).

Also sure to play a key role in raising the value of Hall’s next deal is the rising salary cap — with Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reporting the cap could rise a couple million from it’s current upper limit of $81.5 million, the winger and his representatives will have a higher number to which they can tie his value, looking to ensure Hall’s deal slices out a similar percentage of the cap as deals for other recently-signed comparable stars.

But it all comes down to one key question: Is Hall worth $10 million a year?

A number of different factors will determine if that’s the case. For some perspective, it’s worth looking back at some recent comparables — we opted for five players who (a) are among the top earners in the league this year, (b) signed within the past two years, in somewhat of a similar cap world as Hall will be negotiating in, and (c) are at a similar point in their careers, i.e. not a young star like Auston Matthews coming off an entry-level deal or a veteran like Blake Wheeler signing what’s likely his last contract.

Mark Stone, RW, Vegas Golden Knights

Contract: 8 years, $76 million
Cap Hit: $9.5 million
Percentage of Cap: 11.9 per cent

Stone was in somewhat of a similar position as Hall when he inked his deal with Vegas — with re-signing in Ottawa seeming a longshot, he was dealt to the Golden Knights mid-season with unrestricted free agency approaching. Of course, Stone signed on with Vegas soon after, while Hall seems more likely to wait it out until the off-season. A winger like Hall and signed at a similar age (27), Stone came to his new deal as a 60-point player praised as one of the best two-way talents in the game — evidenced by the fact he was runner up for the Selke Trophy after signing on with Vegas.

He isn’t the type of offensive force that Hall is — Stone’s career .838 points-per-game pace sits far below Hall’s career .905 — but he carries a different type of premier value due to his two-way prowess. Determining which of those two is worth more is difficult to quantify, and likely based more on what other elements a team already has on the roster, but when all was said and done, Stone was given just under $10 million, long-term by the Golden Knights, his $9.5 million ranking as the highest cap hit on the team.

Nikita Kucherov, RW, Tampa Bay Lightning

Contract: 8 years, $76 million
Cap Hit: $9.5 million
Percentage of Cap: 11.9 per cent

Kucherov was a couple years younger when he inked his eight-year deal, re-signing with the Lightning at 26. He was already in the midst of establishing himself as one of the game’s premier scorers, coming off a 100-point season with an 80-point campaign one year prior, and two seasons above 60 before that. But more importantly, Kucherov scored at or near 40 goals in each of the two years leading up to the deal, likely the most significant factor in earning him his eventual sum. He came to his negotiations with no personal hardware to his name (the breakout campaign that saw him snag the Hart Trophy, Art Ross Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award came after he had re-signed), but it was fairly clear which direction the young Russian phenom’s game was trending.

Though also a winger like Hall and Stone, Kucherov entered his negotiation as a better offensive weapon than either, having proven his ability to produce more goals and overall points. Of course, there is some tax trickery at play, as Kucherov’s cap hit isn’t necessarily indicative of his overall worth given the fact that Florida has no state income tax. Elite scoring included, Kucherov signed on for $9.5 million per year long-term on a deal identical to Stone’s.

Tyler Seguin, C, Dallas Stars

Contract: 8 years, $78.8 million
Cap Hit: $9.85 million
Percentage of Cap: 12.4 per cent

Seguin is the first of these comparables to seemingly to get the centre bump — centremen tend to be paid the most of any position, and Seguin is no exception, slotting in slightly above wingers Kucherov and Stone at $9.85 million per year. He’s a straightforward comparable to Hall in one sense, considering the two have been linked since before their draft year and went off the board Nos. 1 and 2 in 2010, but the difference in position is key. Seguin was 26 when he inked his deal, and did so having scored at a slightly lower rate than Hall (.864 career points per game vs. Hall’s .905). Like the previous two wingers, Seguin didn’t come to the deal with any individual trophies to his name, though he did play a role in the Bruins’ 2011 championship run during his rookie year in Boston.

Though Seguin’s never had a single season that’s matched Hall’s MVP campaign — hitting 90 points and winning a major award like the Hart — he’s been a more consistent scorer year in and year out, having topped 70 points six different times while Hall’s done so only twice (with injuries playing a key role in that discrepancy). It’s worth noting linemate and captain Jamie Benn is signed on for $9.5 million per year, which may have played a part in determining Seguin’s yearly number. Benn’s trajectory serves as an interesting comparable for Hall as well — the left winger signed his big-money deal in 2016, a season removed from having clinched the Art Ross Trophy in what seemed a potential outlier campaign. Benn put up one more season above 80 points, but hasn’t gotten close to that production since — he has five more years at $9.5 million after this one.

John Tavares, C, Toronto Maple Leafs

Contract: 7 years, $77 million
Cap Hit: $11 million
Percentage of Cap: 13.8 per cent

Tavares’ signing situation is the first of these comparables to have been set up similar to what Hall’s process will likely look like — a genuine superstar heading to the open market, allowing the league at large to bid for his services. Signing at age 27, Tavares came to the new deal as a two-time Hart Trophy nominee with three 80-point campaigns to his name, a 70-point effort and three 60-point seasons. He’d scored at a much higher pace than Hall overall, rolling along at a career clip of .928 points per game with the Islanders. And, of course, Tavares earned an extra bump as a centreman, and captain material.

While he didn’t have the Hart Trophy win to his name, his two nominations put him in that same camp as Hall in that regard. That alongside better offensive numbers, and success in all that comes with manning the middle of the ice as a premier top-line centreman. All told, it seems he’d be a more valuable commodity than Hall, and with the added wrinkle of entering free agency as arguably the biggest name to ever hit the market, Tavares was able to sign on for a hefty $11 million per year long-term (though for one year shorter than the previous deals listed here).

Artemi Panarin, LW, New York Rangers

Contract: 7 years, $81.5 million
Cap Hit: $11.643 million
Percentage of Cap: 14.3 per cent

Panarin’s deal might be the most interesting of the bunch in comparison to what Hall could get. Debuting with two years of roughly 75 points alongside Patrick Kane in Chicago, Panarin established his value as a player a team could build an offence around when he was shipped to Columbus, putting up 82 and 87 points over the past two years in that central role. Though he had no MVP nominations to his name when he signed in New York this past summer, the Calder Trophy-winner has been a better overall scorer than Hall during his short time in the league, scoring at a .994 points-per-game clip over his four NHL seasons.

There’s plenty here that seems to line up, ostensibly, with Hall’s upcoming negotiation — if the former Devil chooses to wait things out as opposed to signing on with Arizona. Panarin signed at 27, just a year younger than Hall will be this summer, and — like Tavares and potentially Hall — did so as the prized name on the free-agent market. Though Panarin has seemed a more dynamic scorer so far, it’s tough to say there’s too significant a discrepancy between he and Hall when it comes to their offensive potential, especially considering the year Hall just put up during his MVP bid.

There is quite a difference when it comes to their track record of staying in games, though. Panarin missed only six games through those first four seasons in the league, while Hall has played a full 82-game season just once over the past decade. He’s been above 70 games four times, and played nearly the full lockout-shortened season in 2012-13, but has four other seasons of finishing at or below 65 games. That injury potential seems certain to come into play when a long-term, big-money deal is on the table.

Panarin reset the market for a star UFA winger at this point in his career — he did so as a slightly younger player with an established reputation as one of the game’s premier offensive talents. That doesn’t seem entirely different from Hall’s situation.

That said, the latter’s injury history changes things. It seems where that final number settles will depend on where exactly the winger looks to go — if he’s willing to sign on with a rebuilding team, returning to a situation akin to his Devils years, then something approaching $10 million doesn’t seem out of the question. But if Hall’s hoping to join a contender and give himself a chance to close out his career with a Cup, as he’s stated publicly, that number will have to drop a fair amount.

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Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat Game 5: Live score, updates, news, stats and highlights – NBA CA



With their backs against the wall, the Boston Celtics looked to be in trouble in the first half.

Coming out of halftime looking like a completely different team, the Celtics went on a 20-3 run in the third quarter to swipe the lead from the Miami Heat. Boston wouldn’t surrender the lead thereafter, picking up the win to force a Game 6.

For more on this thrilling Game 5, we had you covered with live updates, highlights, stats and more below.

Final: Boston Celtics 121, Miami Heat 108

In a tale of two halves, the Celtics have kept their season alive. Jayson Tatum (31 points) and Jaylen Brown (28 points) combined for 59 points to help Boston force a Game 6. The Heat would shoot 3-for-18 (16.7%) from 3 in the second half, being out-scored 70-50 and out-rebounded 28-12 to alter the outcome of this game.

Miami had six different players score in double figures, led by Goran Dragic’s 23 points and Jimmy Butler‘s strong stat line of 17 points, eight rebounds and eight assists but it wasn’t enough to hold off the Celtics’ second half charge.

The Celtics have not let their foot off the gas. A pair of Jaylen Brown 3s highlight’s their hot start to the fourth quarter as they’ve built their lead up to 16 at 107-91. Brown now has 24 points shooting 10-for-19 from the field and 4-for-8 from 3-point land.

End of third quarter: Celtics 92, Heat 83

From down seven at the half to up nine heading into the fourth quarter, the Celtics have life. It was a complete team effort from Boston to win the third quarter 41-25, but Jayson Tatum’s 17 points in the frame kept the foot on the gas. If not for a 13-point quarter from Goran Dragic, the Heat could be in much more trouble.

It’s a 20-3 run for the Celtics! They have come out of the half on fire to take a 71-63 lead with a Jayson Tatum 3-pointer forcing the Heat to take a timeout.

We have a ballgame on our hands! The Celtics look much more engaged to start the second half, locking up defensively and getting to the 50-50 balls that went Miami’s way all first half. Just like that, it’s a tied game at 60 with Boston taking a 9-2 run to start the third quarter.

Halftime: Heat 58, Celtics 51

The Heat hold a seven-point lead heading into the half behind Duncan Robinson’s 17 points. Jimmy Butler has kept the wheels turning on both ends of the floor with 14 points, eight rebounds, five assists, one steal and one block. For the Celtics, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have 10 points apiece, while Enes Kanter gave the team a strong 10 minutes in the first half, tallying eight points, four rebounds and two assists.

Something worth noting: Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker each have three fouls here in the first half.

And Jayson Tatum gets his first 3-pointer of the game to fall! The Celtics still trail 52-47 with under two minutes to go in the half, struggling to come up with consecutive stops. Tatum now has 10 points in the first half.

Jaylen Brown is giving the Celtics a little bit of life. The star forward knocked down a 3, followed by an emphatic dunk to cut the deficit to seven at 44-37. He is the first Celtic in double figures with 10 points.

The Heat just want it more so far. Leading 40-28, Miami is playing hard on defence, getting to all the 50-50 balls and just out-hustling their opponent. Jimmy Butler is doing a little bit of everything with six points, six rebounds, four assists and one steal.

End of first quarter: Heat 26, Celtics 18

The Heat controlled the entire first quarter behind Duncan Robinson’s hot start. The sharpshooting forward already has 12 points through one frame, shooting 2-for-4 from 3-point range. The Celtics are struggling to get consistent looks on offence, shooting just 25.0% from both the field and beyond the arc. Jayson Tatum has been held to three points shooting 0-for-3 from the field.

The Heat extended that lead to 17-5, but the Celtics are charging back. An 8-0 run has Boston right back in it, trailing 17-13 with 3:10 to go in the first. They’re still shooting just 3-for-15 from the field and 3-for-10 from beyond the arc.

The Celtics are forced to take a timeout early in this one as the Heat jump out to an 11-5 lead in the first four minutes. Boston has made just one of their first nine field goal attempts with two turnovers – a less than ideal start for a team playing for their season.


Same starting five for the Heat as well: Goran Dragic, Duncan Robinson, Jimmy Butler, Jae Crowder and Bam Adebayo.

The same starting five for the Celtics: Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Daniel Theis.

The views on this page do not necessarily represent the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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Shattenkirk scores in OT, Lightning one win away from Stanley Cup after downing Stars – TSN



EDMONTON — The Tampa Bay Lightning moved to within one win of the Stanley Cup on Friday, beating Dallas 5-4 on an overtime power-play goal that left the Stars livid.

Kevin Shattenkirk fired the puck from the right face-off circle through traffic and past Dallas goalie Anton Khudobin at 6:34 of overtime.

Stars captain Jamie Benn was in the box for tripping after getting tangled up with Lightning forward Tyler Johnson at the Tampa blue line.

“I don’t have a ton of time for a (penalty call on a) play where Tyler Johnson steps in front of Jamie Benn that has no real effect on the play,” said Dallas forward Joe Pavelski.

“Jamie breathes on him and the guy falls over.

“(In the playoffs) it’s overtime, we expect five-on-five to battle it out.”

The Lightning have a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven NHL final series and could lift the cup for the second time in franchise history with a win in Game 5 Saturday night at Rogers Place.

Brayden Point, with two goals, Yanni Gourde, and Alex Killorn also scored for Tampa Bay. Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 26 shots for his 17th win of the post-season against six losses.

Pavelski, with two goals, John Klingberg, and Corey Perry replied for Dallas. Khudobin made 30 saves. His playoff record falls to 13-9.

It was a back-and-forth game, with Tampa Bay rallying back twice from deficits and torching Dallas with three power-play goals.

“We stayed persistent,” said Killorn. “On a couple of (power plays), it seems like the first minute isn’t great, but the second unit comes on (and) they’re ready.

“All the goals are kind of I don’t want to say greasy, but we’re working for these goals. They’re not back-door passes or anything like that.”

Tampa had to kill a penalty of their own in overtime before Shattenkirk got the winner.

“I think it was just sticking with the process,” said Point. “We were working. We weren’t focused on the end result, just that next shift and it worked out for us tonight.”

Dallas coach Rick Bowness, looking to spark his team after a 5-2 loss in Game 3, broke up his top line of Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov, mixing and matching them in various combinations with Joel Kiviranta, Perry, and Pavelski among the top six.

The strategy worked early on.

Dallas had just three shots in the first period but scored twice. Klingberg scored first, then Benn dished to a streaking Pavelski in the slot, who zipped the puck blocker-side low on Vasilevskiy.

Point got his first goal in the dying seconds of the first period on a perfectly executed 200-foot breakout.

Shattenkirk, at his own end line, fired a bounce pass off the boards that Ondrej Palat corralled at centre and in turn relayed to Point in full flight, who deked out Khudobin on the backhand.

Point tied the game 2-2 early in the second period on the power play, standing beside the Dallas net and bunting a puck out of mid-air.

Dallas took a 3-2 lead midway through the second period when Vasilevskiy stopped a close-in shot from a streaking Seguin, but Perry sailed in to jam home the loose puck.

Tampa replied again on the power play with a minute to go in the frame. Gourde jumped on a rebound that came right to his stick in the slot.

Killorn and Pavelski swapped sharp-angle goals in the third.

Seguin said while it’s a short turnaround to Game 5, Dallas will be ready.

“I think we’ve got more,” he said. “I believe in this team, believe in the boys. We’ve got another level here.”

Point has 13 goals and 17 assists this post-season, but remains behind linemate Nikita Kucherov for the NHL playoff scoring lead. Kucherov logged two assists and has seven goals and 32 points.

Pavelski leads the Stars with 12 post-season goals.

Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos did not dress for the game and is questionable for the rest of the series. Stamkos started Game 3 on Wednesday and scored on his first shot but sat on the bench for the last two periods.

He had been out since late February, recovering from core muscle surgery and a lower body injury. The NHL is not releasing injury information.

All games are being played in front of no spectators at Rogers Place, and players are isolating between contests to prevent contracting COVID-19.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 25, 2020.

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Atkins says Blue Jays’ organizational changes a result of pandemic hardship



TORONTO – Ross Atkins says restructuring the Toronto Blue Jays’ five special assistant positions, including one held by Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar, is a by-product of financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and that all are welcome to remain at a lower pay rate.

Alomar, his father Sandy, fellow Hall of Famer Tim Raines, Pat Hentgen and Paul Quantrill were all impacted by wider organizational changes that hit Thursday hours before the club clinched a post-season berth.

All five performed a variety of tasks for the Blue Jays, from attending events in the community to helping groom young players in the farm system. Their full-time positions were eliminated and the club is said to have offered them part-time spots instead.

Where things stand with them wasn’t immediately clear, although Atkins called them “incredible,” and praised “the impact and influence they’ve had long before I was here on so many different players, and obviously on the fan base and just to this organization, what they’ve meant, I think the world of all of them.”

“Really, the way that we view it is they’re helping us transition through a pandemic and through a financial hardship and through a minor-league restructure,” he continued. “We would love to have them here, to continue to be here. They will be compensated very differently. They will always be welcome. And our hope is that we look up a year from now or maybe two years from now, and they’re back into similar, if not similar, even more significant roles with us.”

All five have been with the organization for years, with Alomar among the franchise’s most recognizable figures and Hentgen part of the organizational fibre. Other clubs in the past have asked about Hentgen’s availability but he was never interested, fully committing his heart to the Blue Jays.

“A thousand per cent,” said one scout from a rival club. “All the players love him.”

The changes didn’t stop at the special assistants. The Blue Jays are also parting with triple-A manager Ken Huckaby, pitching rehab co-ordinator David Aardsma, pitching rehab coach Darold Knowles, and perhaps others. More changes are expected, too.

“Going through a pandemic with what that has meant for the industry financially, what it’s meant for the Toronto Blue Jays financially, then having a minor-league restructuring process in the industry where we’re going to all but certainly be operating with two less teams, and a significantly less number of players, it would have been irresponsible us not to think about how we could operate more efficiently,” said Atkins. “Any business has had to do that, and it would be very difficult not to.

“At least in our view, felt like it was something we had to do. As it relates to Ken, and specifically as we thought about how we could be more efficient, we had to decrease the overall number of leaders in our organization.

“It was more just circumstance. He has certainly done great things for us and will continue to do great things in baseball. He’s had a significant impact here. I feel strongly about the person, the character, his contributions, just a very tough decision that we had to make.”


Atkins added that Huckaby’s replacement as manager of the triple-A Bisons “will definitely be an internal candidate.”

The reduction of two minor-league teams Atkins mentioned is part of a wider Major League Baseball plan to streamline the minor leagues, triggering significant tumult among owners of teams on the chopping block.

Last November, in a list published by Baseball America of 42 teams proposed for removal from the affiliated minor-leagues, the only Blue Jays affiliate mentioned was rookie-ball Bluefield.

Their other affiliates are: triple-A Buffalo, double-A New Hampshire, advanced-A Dunedin, low-A Lansing, short-season Vancouver, the rookie GCL Blue Jays, and Dominican Summer League Blue Jays.

The draft was reduced to only five rounds this year and industry speculation is that next year’s draft will be pushed back to July and perhaps reduced to 20 rounds from the usual 40.


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