Player evaluation: Williams
This season: 49 games, 10 goals, 19 assists, 39 penalty minutes, 16:23 average ice time.
The good: Williams had five goals and 10 assists in his first 14 games and was a part of a Kings’ first line that got off to a fantastic start. Williams’ play can be underrated, because he rarely makes the “highlight” play. Williams often does the dirty work in the corners, digging out pucks and making the small plays that, one or two passes later, lead to goals. When healthy, he is also a goal-scoring threat himself.
The bad: Williams did little this season to shake his reputation of being injury-prone. He suffered a broken leg on Dec. 26, a freak injury but another in his long list of injuries. Williams, admirably, exceeded expectations and returned in mid-March, but was it a wise move? Clearly trying to play his way back into top form, Williams never really succeeded other than brief periods of success.
Going forward: There’s no mystery with Williams. When healthy, he’s a solid, productive player, but he has failed to play even 50 games in any of the last three seasons. Williams is entering the final season of his contract, so there’s no question that he will be motivated to prove he can play an entire season and be productive. The Kings hope he, Anze Kopitar and Ryan Smyth will be able to recapture that early-season magic.