Getting clutch? Capitals sign Justin Williams for two years, $6.5M
Fair or not, Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals are associated with losing “the big game.” With that in mind, is there any better way to change that than by adding “Mr. Game 7?”
In one of the surprises on a free agent frenzy that’s actually amounted to a series of pretty reasonable deals, it sounds like the Capitals got Justin Williams at a very reasonable price. The two-year pact is worth just $6.5 million ($3.25 million cap hit per season), the team confirmed.
When Williams was on his way to winning the 2014 Conn Smythe Trophy, it seemed preposterous to picture him not making a big raise from his old cap rate of $3.65 million.
It turns out that was true ... but unexpectedly, he’ll make even less. Wow.
The Montreal Canadiens and Los Angeles Kings were also in the running for Williams, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.
A down year
There’s no denying that Williams, 33, fell short of having a strong contract year.
Most obviously, the Kings missed the playoffs and basically faced one disaster after another. Williams saw a slight decrease in regular season production (from 43 points in 2013-14 to 41 last year) and his outstanding playoff performances must have faded from some minds. One could argue that, like Antoine Vermette, Williams didn’t sign a deal at the height of his earning power.
A good fit and a chance to play on another contender trumped more money for Justin Williams— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) July 2, 2015
Even so, Williams is more than just a guy who scores big goals. He’s frequently been a possession monster, even standing out on a puck-hogging team like the Kings.
With the Pittsburgh Penguins making a splashy trade to get Phil Kessel and the Caps adding Williams on the cheap, the Metropolitan Division is shaping up to be fascinating in 2015-16.
Have we already seen the best bargain of the summer?