Reports: Leafs, Kessel could be close to lengthy extension


Phil Kessel doesn’t want to talk about a contract extension once the 2013-14 season begins, but he didn’t say anything about cramming in a deal right before it starts. Multiple reports (including from TSN’s Bob McKenzie and Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston) indicate that the two sides are hammering out details and might just be close.

At the moment, the money is falling in the $8 million per season range (“give or take $500K”) and the term could be either seven or eight years, McKenzie reports.

TSN reporters McKenzie and Darren Dreger emphasize that nothing is set in stone and neither the team nor Kessel’s agent will respond to the rumors, but both believe that some kind of news will drop before Tuesday night’s opener.

Kessel, 26, is one of the two enormous free agent considerations for the Leafs alongside defenseman and captain Dion Phaneuf. Adding Kessel’s raise to the 2014-15 Leafs roster would bring the cap payout to about $42 million for 11 players, according to Cap Geek’s estimates.

(Being that the Leafs 2013-14 cap total is around $62 million at the moment, it’s obvious that Kessel and Phaneuf aren’t the only guys looking to earn new deals, though.)

Be advised to attach all the “plenty can happen in the next 24 hours” and “don’t assume anything yet” modifiers, because they’re probably applicable. Still, this would be a huge signing that would pour a quart of icing on the top of a summer full of bold and memorable moves.

Johnston provides more in the video below.

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?