Player evaluation: Williams
This season: 73 games, 22 goals, 35 assists, 59 penalty minutes, 17:15 average ice time.
The good: Williams reported to training camp in good shape and it showed, as he recorded his first 20-goal season since 2006-07. It’s probably not a coincidence that Williams’ line — regardless of who his linemates were — was usually the Kings’ strongest line in any given segment of games. He works hard in the offensive zone and makes the smart, simple plays that often go unnoticed but also often lead to goals, and that’s why he fits in well on any line.
The bad: Williams came tantalizing close to losing the tag of “injury prone.” Williams hadn’t played more than 49 games since 2006-07, but hadn’t even missed a single game this season until game No. 73, when he dislocated his shoulder. Williams underwent surgery, after the playoffs, to repair the shoulder, and is expected to be 100 percent for the start of training camp, but fans will once again be holding their breath, hoping another big injury doesn’t befall Williams.
Going forward: Williams signed a four-year contract extension during the season, so he will be one of the veterans the Kings will attempt to build around, given his ability to play right wing in a top-six role. It’s no accident why Williams’ injuries seem to take place along the boards or behind the net. It’s because he regularly puts himself in the tough areas in order to make plays. The Kings will look for another 20-to-25-goal season from Williams in 2011-12.