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.