The Los Angeles Kings are pushing to ink winger Justin Williams to a contract sooner rather than later, but there could be some hurdles. For one, Williams doesn’t want to discuss a contract while the season is ongoing. If a deal can’t be reached in relatively short order, talks could be put off until the end of the year.
Williams is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and his agent Thane Campbell is primed to get something done, but he’s also not afraid to wait. The priority for his 33-year-old client is to remain in Los Angeles for a host of reasons and the Kings obviously want him to stick around. That theoretically means a deal is as good as done, right?
The Kings find themselves dealing with some salary cap issues at the moment and that could hamper their immediate plans to sign Williams. They have $60.1 million allocated to 14 players and they have a bundle of players set for unrestricted free agency come July 1, so that means some priority moves are going to have to take place.
Jarret Stoll, Jamie McBain and Robyn Regehr are up for UFA status, while Martin Jones, Tyler Toffoli, Kyle Clifford, Tanner Pearson, and Jordan Nolan will be restricted free agents.
The salary cap is set to go up to $73 million (probably) and that gives the Kings an estimated $13 million to lock up their key players. Williams is worth a $3.65 cap hit for Los Angeles ($3.050 in actual salary, if you do the math) and that puts the club in tight for re-upping his deal.
In other words, he’ll have to take a pay cut or other players will have to pay for Williams’ deal. That means that the Kings’ RFAs could have to take a hit or Stoll, McBain or Regehr will have to hit the old dusty trail. There’s also the small matter of suspended defenceman Slava Voynov, who is still greasing the Kings for a $4.166 million annual hit.
There are other LA rumours in the wind, namely one involving Mike Richards and his $5.75 million cap hit. There are rumblings about pushing him out the door, although I wouldn’t put much stock in them. Teams are also said to be interested in Dustin Brown, but that ain’t happening.