Despite a slow start, Justin Williams scored more goals at age 35 than he has since he was 25. There’s more in the tank here, if the Caps want it.
|15:29||time on ice per game|
|55.5||5-on-5 shot-attempt percentage, adjusted|
|61.5||5-on-5 goal percentage, adjusted|
About this visualization: This series of charts made by Micah Blake McCurdy of hockeyviz.com shows various metrics for the player over the course of the 2016-17 season. A short description of each chart:
Let’s put everything about “Mister Game Seven” aside. That’s superstition, and it has no place in a sincere discussion of a player’s performance. Williams, like the rest of the Caps, got goose eggs in the final game of the postseason. But up until then, it was another great season from a reliable player.
Was there a better line for the Capitals than Johansson, Kuznetsov, and Williams? They took on two of the toughest lines in the NHL (Nylander/Matthews and Crosby/literally anybody) and practically shut them both down. Williams himself scored a backbreaker on the Leafs in overtime. For me, that shutdown line was a revelation. I didn’t think that the Caps had a forward trio that could play that role so well, and I thought that Kuznetsov was the wrong player for the assignment. (I was wrong, part MCMXVX.) I should have trusted Justin Williams, who has been playing that style of hockey for 16 years. He was up to the task.
And I have a feeling he still is up to the task. Williams will turn 36 before next season begins, but he’s still obviously an NHL-caliber player. He’s not just viable; he’s useful. The big question is contract. Williams has earned between three and four million per year for a decade now — but that’s probably too much for his age, and certainly too much given Washington’s other salary cap concerns.
Still, I’d love to see JW14 back in Caps red this fall. Considering the lack of Washington’s organizational depth at right wing and William’s adeptness at his role, I think there’s a deal to be made here. I sure hope so.
Will Justin Williams be back next year? If so, how should he be paid?
Headline photo: Amanda Bowen
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.