Shortly after the Los Angeles Kings’ disappointing finish to the 2014-15 regular season, right wing Justin Williams said that if he couldn’t finish his career in Los Angeles he wanted to go to a team that could give him a chance to win a fourth Stanley Cup.
“I’m going to try to restart my career somewhere else, turn the page and try to win as many hockey games as I can,” Williams said. “I’m at a point in my career where it’s not all about money, it’s about winning for me.”
Today, Williams woke up a member of the Capitals, signing a two-year, $6.5 million contract late Wednesday night that fits perfectly into the Capitals’ budget.
Williams, who won a Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006 and two more with the Kings in 2012 and 2014, will carry a cap hit of $3.25 million and is expected to fill the void at top-line right wing alongside center Nicklas Backstrom and left wing Alex Ovechkin.
Known in L.A. as Mr. Game 7, Williams, 33, recorded 18 goals and 23 assists for 41 points in 81 games last season, but he’s carved his reputation in the playoffs, where he has earned an NHL record 14 points [7 goals, 7 assists] in seven career Game 7s, winning all of them. In fact, Williams has won three more Game 7s than the Capitals have won in their 40 years.
To put that into further perspective, Williams’ seven goals in Game 7s are three more than Alex Ovechkin, five more than Brooks Laich and six more than Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov.
Williams is a gritty, two-way player who should be a perfect complement to Backstrom and Ovechkin and will provide the Caps with the veteran leadership needed with Wednesday’s departure of Mike Green.
With Williams’ signing the Caps still have roughly $14 million to sign restricted free agents Braden Holtby, Marcus Johansson and Kuznetsov, while also providing a salary cushion if the Caps are interested in adding another forward or defenseman through a trade or free agency.
MORE CAPITALS: Capitals sign three-time Stanley Cup champion