Kings: Drew Doughty talks heat up

EL SEGUNDO -- Kings general manager Dean Lombardi said he had a 40-minute discussion Tuesday with representatives for defenseman Drew Doughty, a restricted free agent.

Doughty, a Norris Trophy finalist in 2009-10 who took a step back in performance and conditioning last season, is still regarded as a cornerstone for the franchise for years to come.

“It’s safe to say we’re still having dialogue and we’ll keep trying to move forward,” Lombardi said. “We’re still on track.”

Lombardi said his biggest concern was trying to fit Doughty’s contract into the organization’s salary structure. The other is trying to determine just how much Doughty is worth.

Nashville defenseman Shea Weber, a Norris Trophy finalist last season, will have an arbitration hearing Tuesday and that could help set the parameters for Doughty’s contract, though Weber is older and still a year away from free agency.

“Most of the [free agents] who got top dollar, most of them have been forwards.” Lombardi said. “You have this big hole in the market for where defensemen are.”