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.
For six months, it's a really good accomplishment. But as soon as April [11, the end of the regular season] comes around, no one thinks about the regular season anymore. For six months, it's a real battle to get into the playoffs in the NHL these days. There are a lot of good teams, and it takes consistency over a long time.
— Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau on clinching a playoff berth after a win against the Islanders on Saturday