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Penguins' Kessel thanks Maple Leafs fans, will 'always consider Toronto home'

Anne-Marie Sorvin / USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Phil Kessel showed his appreciation Sunday for supporters of his former team, thanking Toronto Maple Leafs fans and bidding the city farewell.

Kessel was traded to the Penguins on July 1 in a six-player deal.

He played six seasons in Toronto, scoring 181 goals and adding 213 assists in 446 games. Four of his five 30-goal campaigns came in a Maple Leafs uniform, including a pair of 37-goal seasons in 2011-12 and 2013-14.

Kessel ranks ninth in even-strength goals (128), 10th in power-play goals (52), and is tied for sixth in game-winning goals (31) in Maple Leafs franchise history.

Toronto signed him to an eight-year, $64-million contract extension in October 2013. He was originally signed to a five-year, $27-million deal after being acquired in a trade from the Boston Bruins in 2009.

The three-time All-Star was traded by the Bruins to the Maple Leafs for a 2010 first-round pick that the Bruins used to select Tyler Seguin, who was later dealt to the Dallas Stars. The Bruins also acquired a 2010 second-round pick, which became Jared Knight, and a 2011 first-rounder, which Boston used to draft Dougie Hamilton.

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