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Columnist: Leafs should get Kessel deal done before Christmas

Aug 21, 2013, 12:50 PM EDT

Phil Kessel Getty Images

Phil Kessel is headed into the final year of his contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs and that’s got some in Toronto hoping they’ll get an extension done soon.

One of those people is the Toronto Star’s Damien Cox and he has a timetable and a contract suggestion for GM Dave Nonis to consider.

…an eight-year deal in the $70 million range is in the offing, and all indications are that Kessel wants to stay in Toronto and that the Leafs are determined to keep him and pay him the huge money.

If that’s the case, the Leafs need get this matter wrapped up before Christmas, rather than have it linger into next winter and close to the trade deadline.

Getting a new deal done for him sooner than later is almost certainly a good idea. An eight-year, $70 million deal for Kessel may sound outrageous until you consider he’ll be just 26 years old next summer and truly coming into his prime now.

It’s probably a good thing the salary cap is going up after this season and beyond because Leafs GM Dave Nonis is going to need all the room he can muster with Kessel and Dion Phaneuf both eligible for free agency next year.

  1. freneticgarfieldfan - Aug 21, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    Yes, do that Toronto. And line this contract up to Gomez and Luongo.

    • worldseriestiger - Aug 21, 2013 at 1:22 PM

      Gomez was 28, scored 30 goals once, Luongo was 31 when he signed. Kessel is 25 and has 4-30 goal seasons and would have had a 5th if not for the lockout. Not really the same thing.

  2. jcmeyer10 - Aug 21, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    As a Bruins fan it was tough to see Kessel look like the man and Seguin look like the boy in that series. Kessel looked like a Hossa type.

    This man is worth the monies, especially if the cap is going up 33% over four years.

    • bigbadbruins77 - Aug 21, 2013 at 5:17 PM

      It was tough, except trading Seguin away for Loui Eriksson and all those prospects make it worth it! So we basically got Dougie Hamilton, Joe Marrow, Smith, Loui Eriksson, and I always forget if it was spooner or knight in that trade, all for Kessel…that’s a steal.

      • dueman - Aug 21, 2013 at 5:58 PM

        Ya, keep telling yourself that buddy…lol

      • bigbadbruins77 - Aug 22, 2013 at 8:49 AM

        You really wouldn’t take LOUI Eriksson, Dougie Hamilton (with size, hands, and a scoring touch that has been compared to Pronger), and high level prospects in Marrow, Smith, and Knight/Spooner for Kessel? Loui, Dougie, and Marrow alone are worth it.

      • av416 - Aug 22, 2013 at 9:20 AM

        Morrow, it’s Joe Morrow. Look at it how you want but I don’t see how Bruins fans would try and sell this trade as a win for the Bruins. The Leafs traded for Kessel to get a game changing forward for years to come, and Boston (who got lucky to get such a high pick) envisioned Seguin as the Center of the future for them. One got shipped out for being immature, the other has consistently produced.

      • bigbadbruins77 - Aug 22, 2013 at 10:23 AM

        but it wasn’t just seguin for kessell anymore, and I know it’s Joe Marrow (first rd pick, high end dman prospect that brough iggy to pburg). You’ll see.

      • bildomatic - Aug 22, 2013 at 3:45 PM

        The Bruins did not get Loui Eriksson, Joe Morrow, Reilly Smith and Matt Fraser for Kessel, they got them for Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverley and Ryan Button. To say that all came from Kessel is incorrect, yes Seguin came from Kessel, but Peverley and Button were unrelated completely. It was Jared Knight taken in the 2nd round with the pick acquired from Toronto and he was spending his time in the ECHL last season and does not project to be an NHL regular any time soon if at all. Dougie is great, but at this time he is more “potential” than anything, should that “potential” continue to develop into results then ok, but at this time I gotta say Kessel has been the more consistent contributor.

      • bigbadbruins77 - Aug 23, 2013 at 9:09 AM

        Obviously they got Loui, Marrow, and crew from Dallas for Segs, Pev, etc. But The only player they really lost was Seguin, Peverley was thrown in as a salary dump because he was way over paid for how he is performing now. Knight will crack into the NHL in the next two years, and you are correct, Dougie is potential right now, but has shown glimpses of greatness. I will agree with you that Kessell has performed better than seguin, but what we got in return from Seguin will prove to be better than what Kessell gave us (Loui and Dougie alone, granted dougie develops), but the x factor to who “wins” the trades is if one of those prospects turns into a good roster player.

    • Lupy Nazty Philthy - Aug 21, 2013 at 7:34 PM

      jcmeyer, he has been a pleasant surprise. That’s for sure. We spent a few season waiting for the 40 goal scorer to show up. Instead we’re getting an even more complete player. He’s been a point per game playmaker for two years running. And he’s only starting to go into his prime years.

  3. mnwildnstar - Aug 21, 2013 at 1:43 PM

    Doesn’t matter he will be on the Wild by then with Vanek

    • lbeezyse - Aug 21, 2013 at 2:33 PM

      Could happen. The Wild have a young core & will have $$ to burn!

      • dueman - Aug 21, 2013 at 5:59 PM

        Go ahead, hold your breath…I dare ya! lol

  4. hockey7515 - Aug 21, 2013 at 2:04 PM

    I heard they just got Crosby and Malkin, too.

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Aug 21, 2013 at 3:22 PM

      WHOOSH! Right over his head, folks!

  5. ray2013 - Aug 21, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    I wonder how Kadri is handling this article; he is being told to worry about the cap, and then later in the week they’re talking about a $70 million contract for Kessel. Sure wouldn’t make for a happy camper.

    • hockeyflow33 - Aug 21, 2013 at 5:14 PM

      You do know that Nonis was not the author of the article right?

      • ray2013 - Aug 22, 2013 at 1:30 AM

        The point I was making is that there are two distinct narratives being told here:

        1) Kadri must sign his new contract with current cap considerations in mind; he cannot break the bank because it’s a new fiscal reality with a shrunken cap, and

        2) the Cap could potentially exceed $80 million in the next four years and that Kessel could expect a $70 million dollar offer as soon as Christmas time.

        I don’t know Nonis, but if I did, I would expect that he wants Kadri to take a medium-term deal with a low AAV so that it fits within the current cap realities. Basically, they’re using the current cap problems to push for a team-friendly deal.

        Kadri, on the other hand, likely sees big offers on the horizon for Kessel, and a team cap potentially growing up to $80 m in four years. I would expect him to want a deal that recognizes his current role as a top-6 center for a flagship franchise. This would seem to be a challenging negotiation, and stories like this wouldn’t help negotiations. Was that clearer?

    • Lupy Nazty Philthy - Aug 21, 2013 at 7:36 PM

      When Kadri scores a point per game for as many years in a row as Kessel has, he can make that kind of money. Until then he’ll have to prove himself.

  6. hockeyflow33 - Aug 21, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    So signing guys before they reach free agency is smart?

    Interesting premise

  7. redridershoottheireyeout - Aug 21, 2013 at 6:49 PM

    if the rumours about the cap increasing so much in the next few years is true this deal makes perfect sense, but they have to keep his supporting cast as well.

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