When the Capitals signed three-time Stanley Cup champion Justin Williams to what many considered a discount deal (two-years, $6.5 million) in free agency, the expectation was that he could provide his experience while also chipping in offensively. But 23 games into the 2015-16 season, the 34-year old right-wing has done far more than expected.
While his playoff expertise won’t be needed until the springtime, he has become one of the Capitals’ top scorers, currently sitting fourth on the team in scoring with 17 points (seven goals, ten assists).
Williams’ signing was seen as a smart one for several reasons: one, he knows what it takes to win it all, something the Caps have failed to do in Alex Ovechkin‘s ten years in the District. Second, he would provide the Caps’ young players like Andre Burakovsky, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Tom Wilson, with a veteran leader and role model. Williams has certainly made himself at home in a Capitals sweater, and is on pace for 61 points (25 goals, 36 assists), which would be his second-best numbers in a full season of his career. While he’s not a masterful puck-handler like fellow offseason addition TJ Oshie, Williams’ biggest weapon is his ability to know what to do in certain situations. He seems to have a knack for knowing where the puck is going to be before it gets there, and that is what makes him such an important part of this team.
While his famous “Mr. Game 7” nickname won’t be brought up until April, Williams has been what the Caps wanted and more. He was the perfect fit for the Caps, and he’s now rewarding them in more ways than one.
By Michael Fleetwood