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Kessel: ‘I haven’t even thought about’ extension with Leafs

Jul 24, 2013, 10:02 PM EDT

Phil Kessel Getty Images

One year from now, Phil Kessel will be an unrestricted free agent.

But to hear him talk about it, the situation is the furthest thing from his mind.

“I haven’t even thought about it yet,” he said on Wednesday, as per TSN. “I’ve still got another year here and we’ll see what happens.”

In February, Kessel made waves via his agent, Wade Arnott, who said the 25-year-old would like to finish his career in Toronto.

“Phil (Kessel) is still a really young man,” Arnott told the SportsNet Fan590. “He really enjoys living in Toronto and playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“This young man lives and breathes hockey. He was very excited to come here four years ago. I think if you asked Phil today, he’d love to finish his career here in Toronto.”

Kessel enjoyed a solid 2013 campaign, arguably his finest with the Leafs.

He led the team in scoring with 52 points in 48 games — his first-ever season averaging more than one point per game — and scored six points in Toronto’s opening-round playoff loss to the Bruins.

In light of that, it’ll be extremely interesting to see what his next deal looks like.

Kessel’s five-year, $27 million deal expires at the end of 2013-14, one that carries an average annual cap hit of $5.4 million.

While it makes him the club’s highest-paid forward next season, it’s in the future where things get dicey: Toronto has $19.5 million committed annually to David Clarkson, Tyler Bozak, James van Riemsdyk and Joffrey Lupul until 2018.

Compounding matters is the fact the club’s second-leading scorer last season, Nazem Kadri, is also in line for a new deal.

His entry-level contract has expired — one that netted him $1.72 million per year — and he’ll be in line for a raise given how well he played last year (44 points in 48 games), his first as a full-fledged member of the Leafs.

“Nothing yet, but I know we’re still talking,” Kadri said about contract negotiations. “As long as there’s progression, that’s the important thing.”

  1. MannySilvers - Jul 24, 2013 at 10:05 PM

    He should sign as a UFA with the Bruins just because that’d be hilarious.

    • sunderlanding - Jul 24, 2013 at 10:37 PM

      You should kiss my ass because that would be funny as well.

    • rsmaggiemae - Jul 25, 2013 at 1:36 AM

      He should come back home to the Midwest and play for the Wild if they have enough money next year once they free up Heatly’s huge contract./
      That way he could see his sister Amanda play for the Minnesota Gopher womens team who have won the NCAA championship three years in a row and have a 50-0 record.
      his sister was a huge award this year for her tremendous play making
      I am sure he would like to see her play more often and if he came back here he could.
      and even thought he is from Wisc a cheesehead, we still would welcome here in Minnesota

  2. dudermcrbohan - Jul 24, 2013 at 11:08 PM

    he hasn’t thought about an extension because all he’s thinking about is cashing in when he hits free agency.

  3. withseidelinn - Jul 24, 2013 at 11:15 PM

    It’ll get done next season. 7-8.5 mil for 6+ years.

  4. vanindeed - Jul 25, 2013 at 12:01 AM

    Kessel would do well in T.O. long term but 7-8 million is a joke. 6 at max

    • tomklassen - Jul 25, 2013 at 1:07 AM

      Kessel would definitetly deserve 7.5 million dollar money. He is quite underrated if you ask me, and I’m no Toronto fan.

    • mjbabiak - Jul 25, 2013 at 1:25 AM

      6 max? dont be silly

    • av416 - Jul 25, 2013 at 8:10 AM

      Thats very wishful thinking. Just cause he’s awful with the media and not the idea ‘face of the franchise’ type player his production clearly nets him easily into the sevens and toward the low eights. Guys produced at a point per game clip for too long and hes too young and explosive to get so little as a FA. If this was a more popular player no one would doubt their worth 7.5-8

  5. mpops86 - Jul 25, 2013 at 7:59 AM

    Arnott is a clown, he’s a shameless liar and his only focus is on getting the best deal possible.

    • dueman - Jul 25, 2013 at 12:37 PM

      That’s his job! He wouldn’t be a very good agent if he wasn’t trying to get the best deal he could for his client now, would he?

  6. ricky9984 - Jul 25, 2013 at 12:18 PM

    Come on back to Minnesota Kessel! We would love to have you back and be a part of our cup runs for years to come!

  7. dueman - Jul 25, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    Kessel will re-sign with Toronto, and he will get paid as one of the top ten players in the league. Who ever said 6 mil is on crack too. He’ll be carrying a cap hit of 7.5-8 mil. Whether people want to admit it or not, the guy is a star player in this league!

  8. phillyphanatic77 - Jul 25, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    Never been a fan of Kessel but those thinking he will get in the $6 range don’t understand the current economic landscape of the NHL. Mid-level players are starting to get 4-5.5. Players who produce at PPG clips are going to get 7+ easy. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Kessel got $8 for 8years. He’s a pure sniper and he’s just about to enter his UFA years, making him that much more expensive. The Leafs seems like they’re gonna be up against the Cap with Kessel, Clarkson, Kadri (bridge deal?), Bozak, and Franson are receiving hefty deals in a short period of time.

    • sunderlanding - Jul 25, 2013 at 3:00 PM

      No kidding. If Clarkson gets over five Kessel ain’t signing for 6.

    • Lupy Nazty Philthy - Jul 26, 2013 at 12:38 AM

      Exactly… It seems like people forgot that inflation still happens.

      From the signings around the league, the going rate for players seems to be 10 points is worth $1M.

      Meaning, If you’re a 30-40 point player, you’re worth $3-4M. Clarkson is a 50 point range guy, he got around 5M. Kessel being a 70-80 point guy should be worth $7-8M.

  9. Lupy Nazty Philthy - Jul 26, 2013 at 12:54 AM

    The big question is does Kessel REALLY want to stay?

    Everyone says they want to stay and sign long term… doesn’t mean too much though. Zach Parise said the exact same things about staying in NJ long term… but first chance he had he was gone.

    It will be a relief when/if the Leafs get him locked up long term.

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