After having his 2009-10 season limited to a broken leg, Justin Williams had a lot to prove this season. Williams collected 29 points in 49 games in 2009-10 and was determined to step his game up a few notches - and that's just what he did.
Before a shoulder injury ended the remainder of his regular season in March, Williams was leaving his mark with the Kings, scoring 57 points (good enough for a second-place tie on the team in that category) in 73 games. Williams' play was so impressive, in fact, that he was rewarded with a two-year contract extension.
Of his 22 goals this season, five were on the power play on a team that struggled mightily in that department during the latter part of the season. Williams finished third on the Kings with shots (213) and plus/minus (+14) and averaged 17:15 of ice time per game.
As the regular season ended, the Cobourg, Ontario, native was still recuperating from a shoulder injury but was well ahead of schedule as he returned for Game 1 of the Kings series versus San Jose when he wasn't initially supposed to be back for at least another week. Williams paid immediate dividends as he collected four points in six games while scoring once on the power play and registering 16 shots on goal.
The 29-year-old was acquired by the Kings back on March 4, 2009 from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for Patrick O'Sullivan. The trade, to me at least, didn't seem like a favourable one at the time. Then, O'Sullivan was still a popular player in Los Angeles and was supposed to be part of the team's bright future. General manager, Dean Lombardi, however, had different plans and, looking back on it now, it seems as though the Kings got the better end of that trade.
Having Justin Williams in the lineup was a strong asset for the Kings. He can definitely score but it's his veteran leadership that helps his team the most. In 2006, Williams helped guide his then-team, the Carolina Hurricanes, to the Stanley Cup title. For when the Kings are serious enough to make a push like that, they know they can count on Justin Williams for leading them in the right direction.