That is not the case with Phil Kessel of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
There is no question Kessel has developed into an elite scorer in the NHL. In the past two years only Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers have more points than Kessel’s 119. And, since being acquired from the Boston Bruins Sept. 18, 2009, only six players have more goals than Kessel’s 119.
So it really comes as no surprise that Kessel is on the verge of signing a new contract that will reportedly run for eight years and pay him $64 million US.
That said, for that kind of dough, Kessel had better ramp up his production even higher. Kessel has never hit the 40-goal plateau. Two years ago he tallied a career-best 37 goals, but dipped to a 34-goal pace in a lockout-shortened season last year.
Kessel did, however, have an excellent playoff leading the Maple Leafs with four goals (two game-winners) and six points in seven games.
The contract includes a limited no-trade clause, a source told The Canadian Press. Kessel had one season left on his previous deal at $5.4 million.
The Madison, WI, native, who turns 26 Wednesday, had indicated he would not be interested in negotiating an extension on his current five-year contract that runs out at the end of the 2013-14 season.
Obviously the Maple Leafs are interested in getting a deal done so his contract status doesn’t become a distraction during the season.