Player evaluation: Williams

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JUSTIN WILLIAMS
This season: 12 games, 1 goal, 3 assists, 8 penalty minutes, 17:51 average ice time (with Kings); 32 games, 3 goals, 7 assists, 9 penalty minutes, 15:10 average ice time (with Carolina).
The good: Williams came in under some difficult circumstances, through no fault of his own. He was the player who came back in the controversial trade that sent Patrick O’Sullivan to Edmonton, and Williams had a broken finger at the time of the trade and didn’t make his Kings debut for two weeks. After seven games without a point, Williams had a one-goal, two-assist game against Phoenix on April 4 and was playing on the first line by the end of the season.
The bad: Keep in mind the image of Michal Handzus in 2007-08, when Handzus went through that typical year-after-ACL-surgery season. Reports from Carolina indicated that Williams was a step slow this season, and his combined four goals in 44 games fell well short of his past performances, which included two 30-goal seasons.
Going forward: Perhaps no player will be watched closer next season than Williams. In O’Sullivan, the Kings traded away a popular young player with potential. Dean Lombardi is adament that he got the better play in the trade, so it’s going to be up to Williams to prove him correct. Given the Kings seem increasingly comfortable with Dustin Brown in a second-line role, Williams is likely to be given first crack to be the first-line right winger.

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