Nonis: Kessel, Phaneuf extensions not on ‘front burner’
Recently re-signed Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis has already made his mark on the team in his first seven months on the job, but his biggest test is still ahead of him.
The Toronto Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf, a defenseman who logged 25:10 minutes per game in 2013, has just one year left on his contract. On top of that, their leading scorer, Phil Kessel, is also set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Locking those players up or otherwise preparing the team for losing one or both of them could be the difference between the Leafs continuing on their current upward path or stumbling, but regardless of what Nonis’ plans are, it doesn’t sound like he will act soon.
“I wouldn’t rule it out, but it’s not on the front burner right now,” Nonis said when asked on Sportsnet 590 about the possibility of signing one or both of them over the summer.
Kessel seems content to simply wait and see what happens, but he’s also happy in Toronto and open to staying for the long haul.
Meanwhile, Nonis is likely focused on re-signing restricted free agents Nazem Kadri, Cody Franson and Mark Fraser, although he said he’s not close to inking any of them.
To be fair, none of these matters are urgent, but these are also situations where a prolonged stretch of no news can increase the chances of bad news.