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Report: Contract talks underway between Kings, Williams

From ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun:

Contract talks between LA Kings and Justin Williams (UFA July 1) began last week..Kings really want to bring him back and Williams loves LA

— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) December 16, 2014

However Williams agent Thane Campbell has told Kings that deal needs to be done in near future or talks will be shelved until after year...

— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) December 16, 2014

Williams doesn’t want contract talks to be a distraction, wants to focus on winning games. So deal has to get done within a few weeks...

— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) December 16, 2014

Williams, 33, is in the last of a four-year, $14.6 million deal that carries a $3.65M annual cap hit. For that money, Williams has been a very productive player for the Kings -- two 20-goal seasons, one Conn Smythe and the “Mr. Game 7” moniker -- but he’s not getting any younger, and the Kings don’t have a ton of cap space moving forward.

The team’s financial issues this season have been well-documented, especially after playing shorthanded on a couple of occasions following the Slava Voynov suspension. What’s more, GM Dean Lombardi has gone heavy on the lengthy, big-money contracts -- Voynov, Alec Martinez, Jake Muzzin, Drew Doughty, Dustin Brown, Mike Richards, Marian Gaborik, Jeff Carter and Jonathan Quick are all signed through 2019 -- and still has some key RFA negotiations on the horizon this summer in Kyle Clifford, Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli.

Per CapGeek, the Kings have only 14 players under contract at approximately $60 million for next season. If the ceiling is to rise to the projected $73M, that’d give L.A. around $13 million to fill out its active roster.

What that means for Williams remains to be seen.