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Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Phil Kessel, Leafs have deal

By Pierre LeBrun

MONTREAL -- The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed top offensive star Phil Kessel to a $64 million, eight-year extension before the puck drops on the new season.

"I'll be on the hook for some team dinners here or there, but I don't mind," Kessel said at a news conference in Montreal on 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."

The two-time All-Star, who will turn 26 on Wednesday, was drafted by the Bruins with the fifth overall pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. His new deal includes a limited no-trade clause.

He was dealt to Toronto four years ago for two first-round picks and a second-round selection. The Bruins used the picks to draft Tyler Seguin, Dougie Hamilton and Jared Knight.

"The one knock that Phil had on him, that I think was totally unfair, is that he wasn't a great teammate," Maple Leafs general manager Dave Nonis said. "That's completely untrue. He's quiet, maybe he's not outgoing as some of the people in a Canadian market would like, but he's a great teammate. He's well-liked by everybody in our room."

TSN in Canada was the first to report a potential deal.

Kessel, whose previous contract was to expire after this season, had expressed a desire to get a deal done before the opener or halt negotiations until after the season. The Leafs open Tuesday night against the Montreal Canadiens.

Really happy to be a Toronto maple leaf for the next 8 year.

— Phil Kessel (@PKessel81) October 1, 2013

Kessel, expected to play for Team USA at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, led the Leafs in scoring last season with 52 points (20-32) in 48 games. He has led Toronto in points in all four seasons since coming over from Boston.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.