Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Phil Kessel Extension With Toronto Maple Leafs: 8 Years

Phil Kessel has agreed to an eight-year contract extension with the Toronto Maple Leafs according to SI.com.  The terms of the deal reportedly include a declining scale annual salary of $10 million for the first two years going down to $6 million over the final two years of the contract, which kicks in after this season.  There is also a limited no-trade clause.

The former fifth overall draft pick in 2006 by the Boston Bruins was previously set to become an unrestricted free agent  in the summer of 2014.  There was some speculation that Kessel would test free agency and eventually wind up in Minnesota with Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.

Kessel was looking to be with a team for a long time, and he will now do so, barring any future trade, remaining a Maple Leaf through the 2021-22 NHL season.  Announcing the deal just prior to his birthday and the first game of the 2013-14 season, the Leafs and Kessel will look to improve upon their abbreviated 2012-13 NHL season with another run to the playoffs, as they face the Montreal Canadiens on October 1 to kick off the new campaign.
And it sounds as if Maple Leafs' GM Dave Nonis is equally happy that Phil Kessel will be staying in Toronto for quite some time.  According to the team's website Nonis stated:
Phil Kessel is one of the premier wingers and elite goal scorers in the National Hockey League today,” said Nonis. “He wanted to be a Maple Leaf long term and we’re very pleased that Phil will be a part of our core group of players in Toronto until the 2021-22 season.”
Now that one of the best offensive players in the NHL has been signed and removed from the free agency table, the Maple Leafs will need to address several more, prior to July, 2014.  That list includes five of their defensemen, most notably Dion Phaneuf.   

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