Washington Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan promised to add a top-six forward to his roster heading into the 2015-16 season, but he expected that player to come via a trade. Wednesday night, however, the Caps dipped into the free-agent pool, signing Los Angeles Kings unrestricted free agent Justin Williams as originally reported by TSN and later confirmed by The Washington Post. The deal reportedly is for two years at $3.25 million per year.
Justin Williams to the Washington Capitals on a 2 year deal. #TSN
— Aaron Ward (@TSNAaronWard) July 2, 2015
Can confirm that the Caps have signed F Justin Williams for two years, $6.5 million. — Alex Prewitt (@alex_prewitt) July 2, 2015
MacLellan said that he hoped to put an end to the revolving door at right wing alongside Washington’s top-line duo of Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. While it’s certainly possible that Williams could fill that role, he just as easily could wind up with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Marcus Johansson on the second line if the team decides to play second-year man Andre Burakovsky as part of the top trio.
Williams brings three Stanley Cup rings to Washington, having won a pair of cups in Los Angeles and one with Carolina. Perhaps most important he carries a reputation as one of the all-time clutch playoff performers with an NHL career-best seven Game 7 goals, 14 Game 7 points, a perfect 7-0 Game 7 record and a Conn Smythe Trophy on his resume. Williams had 18 goals and 23 assists for 41 points in 81 contests last season with the Kings and has missed just one regular-season game in the past four seasons. If he were to appear in all 82 contests for the Caps in 2015-16 he would conclude the campaign with exactly 1,000 career NHL games played. In 918 contests to date he has recorded 227 goals and 355 assists for 582 career points.
Follow free-agent action on THW Free Agent Tracker.
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A journalism major from the University of Maryland and a published author, Scott graduated summa cum laude from the Maryland College of Journalism in 1991 before pursuing a career in sports that has spanned almost 30 years and includes 15 years working at the NCAA Division I level in sports information and as an Assistant Athletic Director and nearly 10 years working for baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. Scott also served as
a college beat writer for the Baltimore/Washington sports publication Pressbox and Pressbox Online and currently is the Director of Digital Media for MYHockeyRankings.com. His son Devin was drafted by two U.S. Tier 2 junior hockey teams and currently plays NCAA Division III hockey for Suffolk University in Boston. His daughter Sydney plays college lacrosse for Franklin & Marshall in Pennsylvania.