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.
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).
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) June 21, 2018
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.
Jessica Klimkait wins judo bronze to make Canadian history – CBC.ca
Having just lost the most devastating match of her career, a semifinal defeat to go for gold in the women’s under-57 kilogram judo event, Canada’s Jessica Klimkait wasn’t sure initially she could step back out on the mat for another match.
She was heartbroken. The world’s number-one ranked judoka in her weight class, Klimkait imagined a golden moment in Tokyo to end her first Olympic experience.
But there was still a medal up for grabs. It was not the colour Klimkait wanted but it still a chance to step on the podium.
Klimkait cried a bit. She talked to her coach. And then not long after she got back on the mat for her bronze-medal match.
Inside the hallowed Nippon Budokan near the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Klimkait showed resilience, power and poise to battle back and win bronze for Canada.
WATCH | Klimkait makes Canadian history, captures Olympic bronze:
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“Right now I’m going to be emotional about missing that gold medal but I think looking back I’m going to be proud of myself because the last two or three years have been extremely hard,” Klimkait said.
She defeated Slovenian Kaja Kajzer to become the first Canadian woman to land on the Olympic judo podium.
Kosovo’s Nora Gjakova won gold, while France’s Cysique won second. Japan’s Tsukasa Yoshina also won bronze as they award two third-place finishes in judo.
WATCH | Klimkait steps to the podium for her historic medal:
It’s Canada’s first medal in judo since the 2012 Olympics.
“I came here with gold in mind. That was the goal for me,” she said, fighting back tears.
“At the end of the day I’m just happy I was able to collect myself after that loss and come away with a medal.”
Stunning loss in semis
But about an hour earlier Klimkait’s Olympic gold medal dreams were dashed by France’s Sarah Léonie Cysique.
The referee handed Klimkait a third shido, or penalty, after a failed attack. That gave Cysique a stunning win.
“I’m a really offensive player. The only solution that I had was that I was trying to attack. I kept trying to attack. Some of them were not as great as they could have been,” Klimkait conceded.
Klimkait, 24, had to battle through four matches on Monday to secure the bronze, including the demoralizing semifinal.
“I just used all my mental strength that I could and kept it about trying to perform in the bronze medal match despite my emotions and some physical fatigue,” she said.
WATCH | Klimkait reflects on her historic medal for Canada:
Klimkait, from Whitby, Ont., has been carving a new path in the sport for Canada over the past number of years, alongside world No. 2, Canadian Christa Deguchi.
But it wasn’t a completely smooth journey for Klimkait in becoming Olympic champion.
Just before the pandemic hit in March 2020 and COVID-19 shut down sports around the world, Klimkait and Deguchi were months away from a fight-off for Canada’s lone Olympic quota spot, and then Klimkait suffered a knee injury.
The pandemic pause was a blessing for Klimkait as she was able to rest and recover. She told CBC Sports that if she wouldn’t have gotten the time off, she wouldn’t have been able to train properly and would have lost the fight-off – that would have ended her Olympic dream.
WATCH | Sport Explainer – Judo:
With only one Olympic spot available per country per event in judo, it had been decided that whoever of the two finished higher at the 2021 worlds would get Canada’s 57kg berth.
In early June, Klimkait defeated Momo Tamaoki of Japan by waza-ari in the world final, becoming Canada’s second world champion in the sport after Deguchi won in 2019.
Klimkait won the world championship and booked her ticket to Tokyo. Deguchi finished fourth.
“The last two or three years have been really uncertain for me in trying to qualify for the Olympics,” Klimkait said.
“I had to tuck the dream of the Olympics away and try to get better at judo for a while. I just did my best to be the best player I could and hoped that would be enough for qualification.”
WATCH | Klimkait wins judo world championship gold, qualifies for Tokyo:
It was somewhat of a full-circle moment for the Canadian judo program – Canada’s first judo medal was won inside the same Budokan venue at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo by Doug Rogers, taking the heavyweight silver.
It would take two decades before Canada would win another judo medal, as Mark Berger won heavyweight bronze at the 1984 Games.
Coming into these Games in Tokyo, Canada had won two silver medals and three bronze medals.
Canada hadn’t won an Olympic medal in judo for nine years.
But Klimkait has ended the drought in the same place judo became an Olympic sport.
“That’s been a goal and dream of mine not only to attend the Olympic Games but to be on the podium. Obviously the highest step on the podium would have been preferred,” she said.
“I still wanted to feel that pride even if it wasn’t gold.”
Habs draft pick Logan Mailloux’s sharing of intimate photo raises questions about accountability, experts say – The Globe and Mail
The decision by the Montreal Canadiens to select a junior hockey player who shared explicit images without his sexual partner’s consent – and had asked not to be picked while he works on improving his character – has provoked a backlash inside and outside the hockey world.
The Canadiens used their first pick from among dozens of National Hockey League prospects to take Logan Mailloux, an Ontario defenceman who played in Sweden last season on loan from his Canadian junior team, the London Knights.
Mr. Mailloux, who has turned 18 since the 2020 incident, was playing with SK Lejon in Sweden’s third division last fall when he sent images to teammates of the sexual encounter, along with information that identified his female partner.
He was charged with distributing a sexual photo without consent in Sweden and paid fines amounting to $5,300. When news of the incident broke in North America last week on sports site Daily Faceoff, Mr. Mailloux released a statement asking NHL teams to avoid drafting him. “I don’t feel I have demonstrated strong enough maturity or character to earn that privilege in the 2021 draft,” he said.
The NHL has no mechanism for players to withdraw their candidacy. Mr. Mailloux was passed over by all other NHL teams with picks in the first round before the Canadiens made their choice.
Tara Slone, co-host of the weekly Rogers Hometown Hockey on Sportsnet, said she was disappointed and disgusted by the Canadiens and team general manager Marc Bergevin.
“It’s sort of jaw-dropping. You start thinking things are improving and the needle is moving a little bit, and we take a bunch of steps backward,” Ms. Slone said in an interview. “I quite frankly found it baffling and heartbreaking at the same time. As a woman who works in hockey, I could not comprehend the decision.”
Ms. Slone said many of the men who run hockey “know they can get away with it and hockey trumps everything. It’s consequence-free.”
Elliotte Friedman, Ms. Slone’s Sportsnet colleague, said she was far from alone in her dismay. People around the hockey world, including him, “felt sick to their stomachs” after the pick, he said. “It put a stain on what was a really good week for the sport,” Mr. Friedman said on his podcast. Hockey media stalwarts from TSN, including Craig Button and Bob McKenzie, also expressed shock and dismay.
Farrah Khan, manager of Consent Comes First, a support organization against sexual and gender violence at Ryerson University in Toronto, said the Canadiens showed a complete misunderstanding of the meaning of consent in brushing aside the incident and the player’s wish to be left alone to sort out his issues.
She questioned what the Canadiens have in place to help the player. “We know there’s a problem with misogyny in sports. He is one player of many across sports teams that have caused sexual harm. What are the Canadiens doing concretely to address the issue?” Ms. Khan said.
The Canadiens did not respond to the question Sunday.
Mr. Bergevin, the general manager, justified the choice on the weekend, saying the team would be able to “provide [Mailloux] the tools” to address his behaviour. Assistant general manager Trevor Timmins said Mr. Mailloux meets with “a lady psychiatrist a couple times a week” and will be welcomed to training camp before the next season. The team has a plan, he said.
“We feel he is sincere in his redemption quest,” Mr. Timmins said. “We believe in giving people second chances.”
Mr. Mailloux told reporters Saturday he will try to take advantage of resources offered by the Canadiens. He also said he has apologized several times to his victim. “At this point I hope she knows I am sincere about this. I am really sorry,” he said.
The victim in the case wrote to The Athletic site last week to say Mr. Mailloux’s apology was a three-line text, and she didn’t believe it was sincere. “I do not think that Logan has understood the seriousness of his behaviour,” she said. “All I wanted was a heartfelt apology for his behaviour.”
Ms. Slone of Sportsnet said the Canadiens failed to take the victim into account in their selection. “There isn’t much attention paid to her side.”
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Mac Neil wins Canada's first gold in Tokyo Games first in women's 100 butterfly – CTV News
Margaret Mac Neil shrugged off the bull’s-eye she felt on her to win Canada’s first gold medal of Tokyo’s Olympic Games.
The reigning world champion in the women’s 100-metre butterfly blitzed the back half of that race Monday at the Tokyo Aquatic Centre.
Seventh at the 50-metre turn, Mac Neil mowed through the pack to win in 55.59 seconds, which is the third-fastest time in the history of the event.
“It was more than I was hoping for at this point,” said the 21-year-old from London, Ont. “I was really just trying to enjoy the experience and just have fun, which I think I did today.
“So I’m really proud of that and just trying to not be so nervous and just try to loosen up, which is when I really swim at my best.”
The Canadian out-touched silver medallist Zhang Yufei of China by five hundredths of a second. Australia’s Emma McKeon took bronze.
Mac Neil is the seventh Canadian to win Olympic swimming gold. She joins teammate Penny Oleksiak (2016), Mark Tewksbury (1992), Alex Baumann, Victor Davis, Anne Ottenbrite (1984) and George Hodgson (1912).
She’s also Canada’s first multi-medallist in Tokyo after combining with Oleksiak, Kayla Sanchez and Rebecca Smith to win freestyle relay silver on the opening day of finals.
Mac Neil didn’t know she’d captured butterfly gold when she touched the wall. She wears glasses outside the pool, but not contact lenses when swimming.
Mac Neil squinted hard at the scoreboard to read her result before exclaiming “oh my god.”
The London Aquatic Club product possesses a strong underwater kick off the blocks, but is no stranger to swimming a negative split to win.
“I’m not usually out as fast,” she explained. “I need a little bit more time to get going. The second 50 is always my sweet spot and where I feel the most comfortable.”
Mac Neil was a surprise winner of a world title two years ago in Gwangju, South Korea, where she bested 2016 Olympic champion Sarah Sjoestroem of Sweden.
“Coming in with a target on your back is hard in so many ways that I wasn’t really expecting” Mac Neil said. “Going into worlds, I was relatively unknown, so I had that to my advantage.
“Going in with an expectation that I wanted to do well for myself and my family and friends and teammates that are home, I think that added pressure just makes it a little bit more challenging.”
World-record holder Sjoestroem, who broke her elbow in February in a fall on ice, finished seventh Monday.
Canada’s swim team opened the Olympic Games with two medals in as many days, and nearly claimed a couple more Monday
Toronto’s Summer McIntosh, who at 14 is the youngest athlete on Canada’s Olympic team, was fourth in the women’s 400-metre freestyle.
“It’s definitely just the beginning for me,” the teen said. “It’s amazing that I can have this experience under my belt for the coming years.”
Standing in the media interview room watching McIntosh race on television, Mac Neil urged her athletes’ village roommate with repeated “Go Summs.”
The men’s 4 x 100 freestyle relay team of Brent Hayden, Josh Liendo, Yuri Kisil and Markus Thormeyer was also fourth.
World champion backstroker Kylie Masse of LaSalle, Ont., advanced to the 100-metre final with the second-fastest time in the semifinals. The final is Tuesday morning local time, but late Monday evening in Canada.
A two-time NCAA champion who trains under Rick Bishop at the University of Michigan, Mac Neil returned to Canada in early April and served her mandatory two-week isolation under COVID-19 restrictions.
She then joined Ben Titley’s training group at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre.
“I was really kind of quite nervous about how it was going to turn out, switching so close to the Olympics and trials, but it worked out for the best and I’m really happy with that decision,” she said.
Mac Neil placed sixth in 100 butterfly in the 2016 Olympic trials for Rio. She watched a 16-year-old Oleksiak win silver in her event, as well as freestyle gold, and thought to herself “I’m the same age as her.”
“I kind of forget where I was but I remember when Penny won her gold,” Mac Neil said. “That was the first gold that Swimming Canada has had for a very long time. I’m really honoured to add to that legacy.”
She looks forward to getting inked with an Olympic rings tattoo when she returns to Canada. Mac Neil suspects her mother Susan McNair will drop her previous reservations about it.
“She’s not a fan of it, but as a physician she’s emailed every doctor to find out the cleanest spots in London,” Mac Neil said. “You can bet I’ll be getting one when I go home.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 26, 2021.
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