It’s no secret, the Capitals started the season a bit sluggish, as a number of players were slow to get out of the gate. No one more than veteran forward Justin Williams.
THE FIRST 20 GAMES
Williams, 35, started the season relatively cold with regards to scoring. Through the first 20 games, Williams managed just two goals and two assists, leaving many to believe that maybe his most productive days were behind him.
But a closer assessment of the first 20 games reveals that, although the stats weren’t there, Williams was suffering from a great deal of poor puck luck. During the Capitals’ early season funk, Williams was the one player you felt was about to break out at any moment. The question was, would he? and when?
THE LAST 25 GAMES
Over the last 25 games, Williams leads the Capitals in a number of statistical categories, including goals scored (15), shooting percentage (28.3%), is second on the team in power play goals (3) and fourth in faceoff winning percentage. Pretty impressive for an “old-timer”.
Williams has also provided the veteran leadership expected, and then some. He’s done a good job of tapping down any potential over-enthusiastic tendencies, when things have been going well as of late, as he appears to be continuously monitoring the pulse of the team.
Williams, an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, is making things tough on the cash-strapped Caps, who will likely have to part ways with the three-time Stanley Cup champion. But, as the saying goes, “you never know”. If Williams tallies 30 goals this season, which he is currently on pace to do, it will be tough not to at least try to sign Williams for a year or two.
By Jon Sorensen