The 2014 Conn Smythe winner and the 2014 Stanley Cup champions do not appear close to a deal that would bring Mr. Game 7 back to Los Angeles next season.
The Kings are projected to have a little over $11 million in cap space at the moment, but that’s before they re-sign key RFAs like Martin Jones and Tyler Toffoli. They’ve also got Williams, Andrej Sekera, Jarret Stoll, and Jamie McBain ready to become UFAs on July 1. In addition, they’re probably keeping in mind how little the cap went up this season and that they’re entering a contract season with Anze Kopitar.
Williams is coming off a down year, with just 18 goals and 23 assists. Though that’s about the same pace as the prior year when he proved indispensable in their Stanley Cup run. The 33-year-old forward isn’t the guy he was back in Carolina, but he’s proven repeatedly that he brings solid depth to the lineup and he has an ability to step up when it matters. With how difficult it’s been for GM Dean Lombardi to deal with the Mike Richards situation, Williams impact on their success isn’t likely to be taken lightly by Lombardi.
Nonetheless, it’s not surprising that there’s a gulf between Williams’ camp and the Kings. Williams is coming off a four-year deal that had an AAV of $3.65 million. Part of what his camp is probably looking for is to get paid on his Mr. Game 7-ness, which probably isn’t something that flies well with a GM when Williams had a P/60 1.53 81 games that were not Game 7 situations. That 1.53 ranks 178th in the NHL last season among players who played at least 500 minutes.
With those kind of numbers, it’s tough to shell out $3M+.
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Dustin Nelson writes about news and the Minnesota Wild for The Hockey Writers.