Justin Williams has signed a four-year extension that will keep him in Los Angeles until 2015. According to multiple reports, Williams will earn $3.9 million, $3.9, $3.75 and $3.05 million. That averages out to an annual cap hit of $3.65 million.
Williams has been unusually healthy this season, appearing in all 62 games and ranking second on the Kings in points (49), third in assists (29) and tied for the team lead in goals (20).
“What he’s given us doesn’t surprise us,” general manager Dean Lombardi told reporters at team headquarters earlier today. “This is a good hockey player. … That ‘connect the dots’-type guy, we need that, and that’s what he brings.”
In a career that began in 2000-01 with the Philadelphia Flyers, Williams has only twice appeared in all 82 regular-season games — in 2005-06 and ’06-07 with Carolina. The 29-year-old missed 33 regular-season games last season due to injuries, before prematurely attempting a comeback in last season’s playoffs.
“It definitely feels good getting into a groove, getting healthy, being productive,” Williams told the Kings’ website. “They’ve put their money where their mouth is, now it’s time to show what I can do.”
Williams’ point production has slowed a bit since his 11-game point streak spanning October and November, and has split time between the second and third lines this season. Most recently he’s been skating at right wing on a line with left wing Kyle Clifford and center Michal Handzus.
But Lombardi sounded especially pleased to have locked up Williams, one of four players who was due to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season (Handzus, Alexei Ponikarovsky and Peter Harrold are the others).
“As these deals go back and forth you can get frustrated, but we were trying to get Justin done,” Lombardi said. “I’m thrilled. He’s one of our most skilled players. I thought it would have been a massive hole to lose his skill level. Our team would have possibly gone backwards before it went forward. He’s as big a part of the last 48 hours as bringing in Dustin Penner. That’s an important piece for us. I’m thrilled he took a reasonable number that works for us long-term.”