Sportsnet.ca reported Monday that negotiations on a contract extension between Kessel's agent and the Maple Leafs were taking place ahead of Tuesday's regular-season opener against the Montreal Canadiens.
The 26-year-old forward is now in the final season of a contract that pays him $5.4 million per year. Sportsnet.ca's Chris Johnston reported Monday that Kessel could make as much as $8 million per season for eight years in a new deal.
Kessel led the Maple Leafs with 52 points (20 goals, 32 assists) in 48 games last season. He had four goals in seven games in Toronto's first-round loss to the Boston Bruins in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.
— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic