It’s amazing how fast you can agree to terms on a new NHL contract when you put your mind to it. Toronto Maple Leafs right winger Phil Kessel told the club he wasn’t willing to negotiate a new deal once the season got underway on October 1 — and voila! — the next day he had a new deal signed, sealed and delivered.

Kessel signed the NHL maximum contract of eight years for a total of $64 million. This is puzzling to some Leafs fans, considering Toronto has had trouble with long-term contracts in the past two years. Kessel is now under contract until the end of the 2021-22 season.

Toronto had defensemen Mike Komisarek and John-Michael Liles signed to multi-year deals along with forward Mikhail Grabovski. All of these players were given huge deals by former general manager Brian Burke.

However, the Leafs sent Komisarek to the minors last season and ended up buying Grabovski out this year. They’ve now sent Liles down to the Toronto Marlies of the AHL (American Hockey League). Komisarek has since signed with the Carolina Hurricanes while Grabovski joined the Washington Capitals.

Kessel will now be one of the top salary cap hits in the league, as well as one of the best-paid players. He was entering the season on the last year of a five-year contract worth a total of $27 million. The cap hit on his current contract is $5.4 million, while the extension will see that rise considerably starting next year. The 26-year-old former Boston Bruin was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next July and it was something he previously said he was looking forward to.

Kessel, who hails from Madison, WI, was originally drafted by the Bruins with the fifth overall pick in the NHL Draft back in 2006. He was traded to the Maple Leafs in 2009 for a pair of first-round draft choices, one each in 2010 and 2011 as well as a second-rounder in 2010. The Bruins selected forward Tyler Seguin and defenseman Dougie Hamilton with the first-round picks and took Jared Knight with the second-round selection.

The newly-signed Kessel has scored 379 points in 504 NHL regular season games on 185 goals and 194 assists. He has reached the 30-goal plateau four times in his career with his high mark being 37 in the 2011-12 season. He had 20 goals and 32 assists last season in 48 games.

Kessel has scored 119 points over the past two seasons. Only the Philadelphia Flyers’ Claude Giroux and the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Steven Stamkos have scored more. Also, he has scored 119 goals since joining Toronto, with just six players in the league scoring more over that time.

In career 22 playoff games Kessel has 13 goals and eight assists for 21 points. He led the Leafs in the postseason last campaign with four goals and two assists in seven games. Two of the goals were game-winners. He also played for the U.S. at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver.

This article was provided by FeedCrossing, a site partner of FootBasket. Check them out here and see their archives here


Low price, available in multiple styles and colors!