Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel isn’t scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent until the summer of 2014, but it’s not surprising the topic of his future is already coming up.
After all, he’s scored at least 30 goals in each of his last four seasons and the nightmare scenario for the Leafs should be him leaving as a free agent rather than via a trade — especially given the top picks turned young stars the Leafs traded to the Boston Bruins to get the 25-year-old in the first place.
Fortunately, it sounds like the Leafs won’t have to decide between trading him or watching him walk.
“If you asked Phil today, he’d love to finish his career here in Toronto. But it’s still young in his career right now,” Kessel’s agent, Wade Arnott said on Sportsnet 590 The Fan.
“Phil would like nothing more than to help the Maple Leafs make the playoffs. He wants to experience playoff hockey here in Toronto.”
Of course, just because he’d like to stay doesn’t necessarily mean that the negotiations will go smoothly. He can’t engage in negotiations until this summer, so it still remains to be seen what Kessel will demand and if he’ll end up seeing eye-to-eye with the Leafs.
In the meantime, Kessel will continue to work towards leading the Leafs to the playoffs for the first time since he joined them.