With Phil Kessel signed, what do Leafs do with Dion Phaneuf?

Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf's contract is up for re-negotiation -- but will the Leafs bring him...

Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf's contract is up for re-negotiation -- but will the Leafs bring him back? (Michael Peake/QMI Agency)

STEVE SIMMONS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:41 PM ET

MONTREAL - The easy, expensive contract is done. The hard one starts now.

Not that it’s ever easy to negotiate an eight-year, $64-million contract. But it happened quickly for the Maple Leafs.

Phil Kessel asked for Corey Perry-type money — $8.6 million a year.

The Leafs said no, stood firm, and settled on a figure that was reasonably close. It took just a few days to get to $8 million a year. Then a little longer to agree on eight years — a longer term than the club truly wanted.

And thus, there was a deal with the Leafs’ best player — swift, somewhat uncomplicated, expedient. The Leafs wanted Kessel. He wanted them.

It is not so cut-and-dried with the captain, Dion Phaneuf, whose contract is up at the end of the season. There is no formula, the way there seemed a formulaic approach with Kessel. There is no organizational consensus.

All you had to do with Kessel was look at the market, accumulate his numbers, do the math, move a few figures around.


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