KESSEL TRADED TO MAPLE LEAFS AND SIGNS 5 YEAR, $27M CONTRACT.
The drama surrounding Phil Kessel has finally come to an end as the Boston Bruins have traded their disgruntled sniper to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for a 1st and a 2nd round pick in 2010, and a 1st round pick in 2011 pending a trade call which is currently underway.
Kessel and the Maple Leafs then quickly agreed to terms on a new five-year, $27 million deal.
The trade ends a saga that began during the lead-up to the NHL Draft when Kessel originally appeared to be headed to Toronto in exchange for defenceman Tomas Kaberle and a draft pick. However, the deal was scuttled at the last moment due to a miscommunication over the pick.
The Bruins had been unable to re-sign the 21-year old Kessel and the two sides were miles apart on a new contract. A restricted free agent, Kessel was reportedly looking for a deal in the neighbourhood of $4-5 million a season, while the Bruins, who are right up against the league mandated $56.8 million salary cap, could not afford to sign the Madison, Wisconsin native to the terms he desired.
Kessel informed the team through his agent last week that he was through negotiating and intended to sign an offer sheet with one of the league's other 29 clubs.
While both the Nashville Predators and New York Rangers had shown interest, Leafs' general manager Brian Burke's persistence finally paid off.
Kessel, who is sidelined until at least November following rotator cuff surgery, overcame a battle with testicular cancer in 2006 and captured the Masterton Trophy in 2007 for perseverance and dedication to hockey. He enjoyed a career season with the Bruins last year, leading the team with 36 goals in 70 games while adding 24 assists to finish with a career high 60 points. He was selected in the first round, fifth overall by the Bruins in the 2006 NHL Entry draft.