Once the dust settles on the Stanley Cup playoffs and a champion is crowned there is very little to look forward to as a hockey fan. However, there are two big days circled on a hockey fan’s summer calendar. The first is the NHL Draft, where fans sit and watch the future of their favorite team be decided. The second is July 1st, the start of the NHL free-agency.
The free-agency has hockey fans glued to their phone or computer, constantly refreshing their Twitter feeds watching for the next big signing and to find out where this year’s star will end up. However, due to a lack of star power, this year’s free-agency may lack the bite those in the past have had.
There is one player that will likely benefit from the lack of big name talent hitting the free-agency and that’s Justin Williams.
The reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Although I’m sure the Los Angeles Kings would love to keep Williams in a Kings sweater, it doesn’t look like the Kings will have the money to go around. General Manager, Dean Lombardi also has to resign young stud Tyler Toffoli among a slew of other players that include Martin Jones, Andrej Sekera and Nick Shore. Not to mention Anze Kopitar’s contract will be expiring next summer and he will likely cash in.
The Kings have to do a lot of work with just over $9 million in cap space. The Kings’ finances makes Williams hitting the market look very likely, and Williams couldn’t be hitting the market at a better time, well no better time for his wallet.
Courtesy of General Fanager, listed below is Williams and every player above him based on their current cap hit.
|Martin St. Louis||RW||NYR||39||$5,625,000||UFA|
Outside of maybe Mike Green, and that might even be a stretch, there is no player on that list that grabs the headlines or steals the show. Sure, players on that list will be extremely beneficial to which ever team they sign with, but no one all the list is the All-Star looking for a new home.
Back to Williams. The fact that Williams was only making that much money shows how much of a steal his duties actually were. Seriously, Eric Brewer and Daniel Briere made more money that Williams, that’s not right. Williams’ history should catapult him to the top of the list of sought after free agents.
Williams has won the Stanley Cup three times, was last year’s Conn Smythe Winner and is a certified top six talent on any NHL team. Williams is among the league’s heavy weights when it comes to puck possession and can be relied upon in pretty much any scenario.
Among the players set to hit the free-agency with Williams, no other player has the resumé that comes along with Williams. No other player on that list is nicknamed “Mr. Game 7”. No other player on that list has their name on the Cup three times.
Williams could not have picked a better time or set himself up for a bigger paycheck.
Eric received his BA in Journalism from California State University, Northridge. Eric has contributed to RinkRoyalty.com, Buffalowdown.com and California Rubber Magazine.