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Kessel and Leafs haven’t talked contract, won’t negotiate in-season

Phil Kessel

Toronto Maple Leafs right winger Phil Kessel is congratulated on his goal against the Montreal Canadiens during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Toronto on Saturday, April 27, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)


Toronto fans hoping to see Phil Kessel and the Maple Leafs get a contract extension done before the season may want to have a seat.

At Team USA’s Olympic orientation camp, Kessel tells reporters he hasn’t spoken with the Leafs about a new deal and says he doesn’t want to negotiate during the season. The 25-year-old forward is entering the final year of the five-year, $27 million deal he signed with Toronto back in 2009.

The pessimistic way to look at this for Leafs faithful is that GM Dave Nonis spent too much time this summer making questionable, big-money signings (and re-signings) while seemingly ignoring the future of the team. That applies to restricted free agents Nazem Kadri and Cody Franson as well as potential 2014 UFAs Kessel and Dion Phaneuf.

If you want a silver lining, perhaps Nonis is waiting to see just how much the salary cap goes up next season to know just what he’ll have to offer once the Leafs season ends.

Of course, by that point Kessel could decide he wants to test the market which means his price only goes higher.

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