The Maple Leafs and star forward Phil Kessel have agreed to terms on a $64-million, eight-year contract extension.
The deal was signed just hours before the Maple Leafs’ opener in Montreal on Tuesday night. Kessel had one season left on his previous deal at $5.4 million.
”I’ll be on the hook for some team dinners here or there, but I don’t mind,” Kessel said at a news conference in Montreal on Tuesday. ” This is the place I want to play. I want to finish my career here. It’s a great city, the organization’s unbelievable, and I’m really excited to continue here.”
The two-time all-star, who will turn 26 on Wednesday, was drafted by the Bruins with the fifth overall pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. His new deal includes a limited no-trade clause.
He was dealt to Toronto four years ago for two first-round picks and a second-round selection. The Bruins used the picks to draft Tyler Seguin, Dougie Hamilton and Jared Knight.
”The one knock that Phil had on him, that I think was totally unfair, is that he wasn’t a great teammate,” Maple Leafs general manager Dave Nonis said. ”That’s completely untrue. He’s quiet, maybe he’s not outgoing as some of the people in a Canadian market would like, but he’s a great teammate. He’s well-liked by everybody in our room.”
Kessel had 20 goals and 32 assists in 48 games last season. He has 379 points in 504 regular-season games over seven seasons with Toronto and Boston. The native of Madison, Wis., has 21 points in 22 career playoff games, and played for the United States at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.