Apr 24, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Phil Kessel (81) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period at Tampa Bay Times Forum. Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Kessel Signs 8-year Extension with Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs want Phil Kessel in their game plan for the long-term. The winger has signed an 8-year, $64 million extension Tuesday.

According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, the deal was all but official Tuesday morning. It only took a few hours before it was signed.

The deal was negotiated rather quickly and signed a mere 7 hours before Leafs kickoff the 2013-2014 season against the Montreal Canadians. Kessel was adamant that he didn’t want to talk money during the season, so he got his wish.

We all know how the little things can be huge distractions in T.O. and something big like his maximum contract extension allowed by the NHL would have been a huge one.

With the 25-year-old now locked up into his 30s, the team can focus on extending their captain, Dion Phaneuf. His contract will most likely take a little more negotiating to determine his true value to the franchise.

Regardless, Kessel has proven to Randy Carlyle that he can play closer to the defensive style his coach demands and his output has shown he is the Leafs’ best offensive player. In Nonis’ eyes, this was his easiest negotiation yet.

Since becoming a Leaf in 2009, Kessel has led the team in scoring every season. He’s scored 119 goals and 253 points. He is currently in his final year of a $5.4 million deal.

Mar. 21, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Phil Kessel (81) attempts a shot on Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller (30) during a shootout at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Kessel says he loves Toronto and wants to stay. Well, now he’s got 64 million more reasons to stick around, as Kessel becomes the richest Leaf ever. Now the question is if he’s got more to show us, or if paying $8 million a season for a perennial 30-goal scorer is the “norm” in today’s NHL.

Time will tell. Get him a true center and we’ll find out if he’s worth it, real quick.

What do you think about the signing? Was it the right move for the Leafs? Tweet me @ArbuckleTV or leave your feedback below.

Tags: Darren Dreger Extension Phil Kessel Toronto Maple Leafs

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