Two years ago, for the now defunct website STL Sports Minute, I wrote about a need for the St. Louis Blues to go after right winger Justin Williams. He was a durable veteran who had won a cup with the Los Angeles Kings and could score in the playoffs, so I thought, why not? Two things the Blues simply couldn’t do found in one player. It made so much sense that the two parties never came together on a deal-and Williams went on to sign with the Washington Capitals.
He’s a free agent again, and I still think the pair go together like crispy applewood smoked bacon and a hangover.
Should it happen? What would a deal look like? Let’s dive in with both feet.
When I look at Williams, I see David Perron without the inability to score in the playoffs. Both are wingers who take around 50 penalty minutes per season and score around 20 goals without ever touching greatness. Williams doesn’t stop scoring in early April though, and that makes him key for the Blues, who need all the scoring they can find.
The loss of Patrik Berglund for 2-3 months of the upcoming 2017-18 season is a clear cut reason to go after Williams, along with the loss to Perron to Las Vegas. Robby Fabbri is coming back from knee surgery, so he may not fire on all cylinders once regular season game action hits. Brayen Schenn and Williams would give you a pair of proven 20 goal talents.
But wait, Williams is old and the Blues are building bricks made out of youth and not aged concrete, so it is wise to offer a guy who will turn 36 in October a contract? The answer is a resounding yes, because a team can be as young as Gordon Bombay’s Ducks, and still require some veteran leadership. If Doug Armstrong is a man of his word on reloading the identity of the fourth line and Scottie Upshall doesn’t return, Williams would be a good addition.
Never mind the fact that he looks like Luke from Gilmore Girls.
It’s not even July, and the Blues have already lost Berglund to a training accident that is rumored-yet not confirmed-to be caused by Swedish Hot Yoga. Williams is a proven goal scorer with 36 goals in 140 career playoff games, including a few game winners that some people may know about. He pick up the slack and offers the team true grit in areas that are required to advance beyond the second round of the playoffs.
If not Williams, Patrick Sharp is another 35 year old proven scorer who has produced in May and June, with a Stanley Cup to show for it. You could also steal a target from the flailing Hawks in taking Sharp off the board. But I like Williams better. Don’t ask me why. Some things, like an espresso at 10 o’clock at night, just don’t make sense.
Here’s the bottom line: you can never have too many goal scorers, and since Williams wouldn’t claim too much of the team’s future equity, since all he is looking for is a 1 or 2 year deal. The Blues could sweeten the dollar amount and save on the term.
The conversation could go like this:
Williams: Why should I come to St. Louis?
Armstrong: We have a guy named Tarasenko.
The Cobourg, Ontario native wants to win (who doesn’t in the pros?!), and would be a fit in St. Louis, giving the younger talent like Vladimir Tarasenko, Robby Fabbri, and Colton Parayko a sage pitstop for advice and leadership.
Is the juice worth the squeeze for Justin Williams for the Blues? You’re damn right it is.
Armie, start the car.