Darren Dreger and Bob McKenzie of TSN are both reporting that the Toronto Maple Leafs have agreed to a contract extension with pending unrestricted free agent Phil Kessel.
The extension is for a reported 8-years at an AAV of approximately $8-million. After the signings of Claude Giroux, Ryan Getzlaf, and Corey Perry in the last year, the precedent was set and it was clear that Kessel was going to make $8-$8.5-million per year over however many years that he wanted.
While the Leafs were the only team able to offer him an 8th year under the new CBA, it is likely that Kessel would have been able to bring in a higher AAV had he hit the open market. The (slightly) lower AAV, combined with the longer term and surrondings he has become familiar with were apparently enough to entice Kessel to sign.
Kessel has been the Leafs best player since coming over in the much maligned deal with the Boston Bruins, scoring 119 goals over his 4 years in the blue & white.
Kessel, set to be a free agent after the season, had set a deadline of the season opener for contract negotiations, and it appears his tactic worked as Dave Nonis and Kessel’s team were able to come together and get the extension worked out rather quickly.
The deal appears to be rather amiable for both sides, as Kessel gets paid what he deserves, and the Leafs were able to secure their in-his-prime elite goal scorer.
What do you think, did Kessel deserve this contract?