Kessel Inks 8yr Extension With Toronto

The Toronto Maple Leafs are set to kick off the NHL regular season as they meet rival Montreal in an opening day showdown that should be memorable. Before all the action starts the Leafs were busy with some memorable news of their own, the club has re-signed star sniper Phil Kessel to an 8-year $64 M agreement. The deal came together rather quickly as Kessel had made it clear he did not want to negotiate during the season, leaving GM Nonis with a limited window to get the deal done.

Kessel and the Leafs were mutually excited about the deal that keeps one of the premier NHL forwards in Toronto until 2022. Kessel is a player under the microscope in Toronto more than others thanks to the trade that sent two 1st round picks and 2nd rounder to Boston. Since arriving Kessel has grown each season and has taken his offensive game to the next level becoming an elite point producer in the NHL.

Kessel led the Toronto Maple Leafs with 82 points in 2011-12 and again last season with 52 points in 48 games for the lockout shortened 2012-13 season. Kessel will complete the final year of his 5 year deal with a cap hit of $5.4 M before his new contract kicks in starting for the 2014-15 season.

This morning following gameday skates Kessel met with the media at an impromptu press conference and had the following to say:

"I've always wanted to be here, It's a place I wanted to play; I want to finish my career here. It's a great city, the organization's unbelievable”

The Toronto Maple Leafs take the first step towards building on last season tonight as they face off against the Habs in Montreal. With Phil Kessel locked up and a possible season long distraction avoided, look for the speedy forward to once again carry the load for the Leafs offensively this season.

GM Dave Nonis has been active in contract negotiations this off-season getting Kadri, Franson, Clarkson, Orr, Bozak, McLaren and now Kessel signed to deals. The next player on his watchlist is team captain Dion Phaneuf, who becomes an UFA at seasons end.