Phil Kessel's future in Toronto was secured on Tuesday. The 25-year-old winger officially signed an eight-year contract extension with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The deal is believed to be worth an average annual value of $8 million and is believed to include a limited no-trade clause. "I always wanted to be (in Toronto)" Kessel said at a press conference in Montreal Tuesday. "This is the place I want to play. I want to finish my career here. It's a great city the organization's unbelievable and I'm really excited to continue here." Talks are believed to have intensified this weekend between the two sides in hopes of getting an extension done before the puck drops on the 2013-14 season in Montreal Tuesday night. According to TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie the deal is believed to include a signing bonus in its first year as well as another in a later year in the term. The Leafs did not start intense negotiations with Kessel until they heard from the winger that he was committed to staying in Toronto long term according to TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun. Leafs general manager Dave Nonis put great importance on Kessel's commitment to the team and waited to hear that from the 25-year-old before working on the extension. The two had a one-on-one meeting last week where Kessel gave Nonis the assurances he sought. As a result of the Kessel talks being complete Dreger reports that negotiations to extend the contract of captain Dion Phaneuf will soon become the top priority for the Maple Leafs. Kessel is entering the final year of a five-year deal he signed with the Maple Leafs prior to the 2009-10 worth an average annual value of $5.4 million.
Kessel signs eight-year contract extension with Leafs
TSN | Oct 1