Leafs extend Phil Kessel: 8 years, $64-million

292

Dave Nonis completed arguably the best and most important contract negotiation of the offseason this morning, as the Toronto Maple Leafs locked up star right winger Phil Kessel to an 8-year contract worth $64-million.  The annual cap hit it comes to a round $8-million, shirking the annoying trend of players getting paid their Jersey number, and is the biggest and most expensive player contract ever signed by the Leafs, nearly doubling David Clarkson’s contract signed in July.

As of this writing, Phil Kessel will have the eighth highest cap hit in the National Hockey League next, behind Ovechkin, Malkin, Crosby, Perry, Staal, Giroux and Getzlaf (though that will change with 2014 free agency). This also represents one of the first long term contracts signed by an elite player under the CBA and the new 8-year contract limit, which has changed the nature of these deals insofar as extending the term of the deal and back-diving the salary in the later years is no longer an option in order to reduce cap hit.

So what have the Leafs purchased for $64-million?  Quite a lot as it turns out.  In the past two seasons, only Evgeni Malkin, Claude Giroux and Steven Stamkos have tallied more combined points than Phil Kessel’s 134. He and Stamkos are the only players to have cracked the top 10 in scoring the last two years.  Since the time of his trade to Toronto back in 2009, Kessel has scored 119 goals.  That total puts him behind only Alexander Ovechkin, Stamkos, Corey Perry, Patrick Marleau, Jarome Iginla and Ilya Kovalchuk over that span.   All of those players save for Stamkos are older than Kessel, and are signed to big-money deals themselves.

Did the Leafs get any sort of bargain on this deal? No, not really. The Leafs had the pay the piper, and were smart to do it now rather than take on the risks that are associated with leaving the winger unsigned until May.  While perhaps imprudent, had Kessel hit the open market, who’s to say a team wouldn’t have been willing to offer him close to $64-million over seven years?  While unprecedented, the new CBA regulations are (somewhat) forcing teams to pay market value for a player.  Clearly, the Leafs respect Kessel’s wishes not to negotiate during the season and got the deal done to secure its best player.

The weight of expectation certainly doesn’t get any lighter from here on out for Kessel. The same media that wanted to remind us all of the trade that brought Kessel here during each of his “slumps” will be the same ones constantly questioning whether or not Kessel is justifying his pay stubs.  It might seem all bright and cheerful, now…

 

 

But eventually, fair weather comments like these will give way to less fair criticisms should the Leafs or Kessel falter.

Regardless, Phil Kessel is going to be around for the next 9 years, and the franchise is stronger in the future with today’s efforts.  However, in the process of locking up their star and the augmentations this offseason, the Leafs will still need to be wary of the salary cap.  With the Kessel extension, the Leafs will have maybe as much as 30-million in cap space available for 12 roster spots.  That might sound like a lot of wiggle room, but the Leafs are sure to re-sign some of their significant number of pending free agents.  Re-signing more than a couple of Phaneuf, Reimer, Kulemin, Gardiner, Franson, Raymond, Ranger, Bolland or McClement and the Leafs are right back into cap hell.  On the other side of that coin, with the extension, the Leafs now have 5 of 6 positions on the top two lines secured long term, as now Kessel, Lupul, van Riemsdyk, Clarkson and Bozak are signed through 2018.

One nice way of looking at it is to think of the erasure of the Armstrong and Tucker buyouts ($2 million total) as well as the retained salary on Frattin and Scrivens (500k) almost exactly covering Kessel’s raise for next season.

Regardless, the extension was the right move, and the money could have been worse.  Let’s see what the $64-million dollar man can do tonight as he, his oversized wallet and the Toronto Maple Leafs make their 2013-14 season debut against the Montreal Canadiens.

 

  • darthNihilus

    Nonis sucks! He’s a stupid potato. Carlysle even stupider! Leafs wont get anywhere this season! Leafs cannot manage cap! Everyone at MLSE is dumb! The sky is falling……WAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!

  • darthNihilus

    Thank the maker Kessel is signed and we can now focus on hockey and give this team a chance to show what it can do.

  • darthNihilus

    Kessel will now score 50 goals (with bozer as his center)! Suck it haters!!!!!

  • peterbleafs

    darthNihilus Nonis is interviewing Ron Wilson to become a member of the Leafs management team.  This at the request of Brian Burke.

  • peterbleafs

    Good job Nonis.  Its good to take the crap discussions out of the season.  I get so annoyed when people babble over contracts…its done now we focus on the game itself.  Id like to hereby punch anyone who talks about Phaneufs contract in the nose.  It will get done when it gets done.

  • Dink

    Nonis (in my Karnak voice) has done it again…

  • darthNihilus

    Thanks to stoopid potato nonis grabbo will now score 200 points in washington and colborne 100 in calgary, while Clarky mark will score 40 goals for the senaturds! My advanced stats tell me so!!!!

  • Dink

    darthNihilus try oatmeal instead of sugar amacks

  • darthNihilus

    @Dink darthNihilus whats an “amacks”?

  • rustynail

    https://twitter.com/jonasTSN1050https://twitter.com/jonasTSN1050/status/385061150930776064
    Tonight will mark the first NHL regular season game for Paul Ranger since October 22, 2009.

  • Jordan29

    Said it in last post, but will again.
    Anyone who can’t understand the fact our best contending Window will be gone in the next 5 years most likely, should just plain shut up bitching about the Kessel contract

  • rustynail

    https://twitter.com/FriedgeHNIChttps://twitter.com/FriedgeHNIC/status/385062186910892033
    Kessel contract language: cannot be waived or “loaned” (although very unlikely) during term of the eight year deal…(1/2)

  • Airfreshener

    WOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  • darthNihilus

    Nonis used all the cap moneys to sign stoopid facepunchers now we wont have money to sign Kessel! Wait…..what? 
    Now we can look forward to hearing about how the Leafs won’t have money to sign Dion, Gardiner, Kulemin and etc. (until Nonis actually does)

  • ShotgunCharlie

    Jordan29 Anyone that bitches can go cheer for the Habs. This signing was a MUST. The other contracts will fall into place. it cant get any worse than this year. Finding equal value for Kessel is next to impossible on the UFA market. And we dont have any replacements on the farm yet.

  • Greg Fenton

    Less then I expected him to sign for, and less then he could have gotten. 
    I think its too much for Kessel and hope this isn’t team isn’t going down the same road they did in the mid 2000’s.

  • Greg Fenton

    darthNihilus They’l now have 22-28 million in the off-season, signing their core guys won’t be an issue.

  • Jantz

    Very happy that Phil is locked up long term.Just adds more stability to a team on the rise.

  • Dan39

    darthNihilus Hah so true!

  • ShotgunCharlie

    Greg Fenton and the alternative was???????

  • rustynail

    https://twitter.com/FriedgeHNIChttps://twitter.com/FriedgeHNIC/status/385062477920104449
    There is a list of eight teams he can be traded to, although if he plays as he’s been playing the last couple of years, won’t be necessary.

  • ProfessorRance

    Waking up to this news is glorious! Add a beating to the Habs tonight, I think I this day could be one for the books.

  • Jordan29

    There is literally nothing even remotely close to comparing this to 5-10 years ago. Swing and a miss

  • rustynail

    https://twitter.com/FriedgeHNIChttps://twitter.com/FriedgeHNIC/status/385062775153631232
    I know you’re going to ask who is on that list — will be submitted on a yearly basis and doesn’t have to be done now.

  • Jantz

    It would have been great to have him signed in the 7.5 range but he certainly might have done better on the open market next summer as well.
    Once Giroux signed at 8.25, you pretty well knew that Kessel would be in the same snack bracket even though he’s a winger.

  • Komas Taberle

    Greg Fenton He would have got 9M on an open market

  • Dan39

    darthNihilus Lol, yeah, the PPP g-ys have thoroughly embarrassed themselves this off-season.

  • rustynail

    https://twitter.com/HennyTweetshttps://twitter.com/HennyTweets/status/385063181770829824
    Troy bodie is expected to skate with orr and mcclement tonight. Habs will counter with parros, prust and moen. https://twitter.com/search?q=%23TMLtalk&src=hash

  • dlb eh

    Greg Fenton 
    that’s a fair comment considering you don’t think Kessel’s an elite player.
    i also thought Simmmon’s comment was fair (tweet above)
    i personally believe Kessel showed his quality in the playoffs, and i think it’s a solid deal for the team.

  • ShotgunCharlie

    Jordan29 back then we were signing players that were over 30 to big money. Phil is only 26 and is just hitting his prime.

  • darthNihilus

    Greg Fenton darthNihilus tell that to the other guys who think they know more about it than the people who actually make it their living to know.Its the same thing as thinking you are great in bed because you have read a book on how to do it. There is more to hockey than what you see on paper.

  • Marlies Man

    rustynail The fight between McClement and Moen will be EPIC

  • ShotgunCharlie

    dlb eh Greg Fenton who would have thought anyone would agree with Simmons lol

  • Dan39

    rustynail Well Bodie better step up and actually do soemthing – we’ve seen zero from him all pre-season. Where’s the rumoured toughness?

  • Dan39

    rustynail Pissed that he’s instead of Devane who we know can be counted on.

  • Loric76

    darthNihilus http://attach.ozctcdn.com.au/attachments/wa-ambulance-jpg.59267/

  • Mind Bomb

    ShotgunCharlie dlb eh Greg Fenton  We didn’t, he is agreeing with us !

  • Uncle Otis

    rustynail 
    Line brawl!
    Orr vs Parros
    Fraser vs Prust
    Bodie vs Moen
    3 for 3 :)

  • ShotgunCharlie

    Uncle Otis rustynail you forgot Reimer vs Price.

  • mcloki

    rustynail Wow it looks like the Habs are going to send a message.

  • Mind Bomb

    Uncle Otis rustynail Its not safe, but this would be fun to watch as well

    Kes vrs Gionta
    Bozak vrs Plekanic
    Kadri vrs Galagher

  • ShotgunCharlie

    Murph2417 darthNihilus Greg Fenton i read 4 and it didnt help any lol

  • rustynail

    https://twitter.com/mirtlehttps://twitter.com/mirtle/status/385064915670540289
    James Reimer to start tonight. A good choice given his preseason and success last year.

  • wendelsway1

    Mind Bomb Uncle Otis rustynail I would pay money to see Nasty Nazzy beat the shit out of Gallagher..

  • Dan39

    Mind Bomb Uncle Otis rustynail Hah Gally and Kadri should go. You know Kadri is going to be in his face tonight.

  • rustynail

    https://twitter.com/jonasTSN1050https://twitter.com/jonasTSN1050/status/385064488246214656
    Leafs morning skate: JVR-Bozak-Kessel. Lupul-Kadri-Kulemin. Raymond-Bolland-Bodie. Ashton-McClement-Orr.

  • Dan39

    wendelsway1 Mind Bomb Uncle Otis rustynail It could be an annual tradition – Kostka last year, Kadri this year, maybe Rielly next? Perfect

  • ProfessorRance

    rustynail Even with that damn Clarkson suspension, that’s a solid squad.

  • rustynail

    https://twitter.com/Jim_Ralphhttps://twitter.com/Jim_Ralph/status/385063970110861315
    7 1/2 hours. Habs Leafs season opener http://t.co/zDuYShAnIchttps://twitter.com/Jim_Ralph/status/385063970110861315

  • mcloki

    wendelsway1 Mind Bomb Uncle Otis rustynail It’s the first game. Everybody is going out with something to prove. I hope Carlyle has them prepared for what the Habs are going to throw at them tonight. I expect  doozy of a game tonight.