- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Three-time Stanley Cup champion Justin Williams, the recipient of the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2014, signed a two-year contract with the Washington Capitals late Wednesday night.

Williams, who played parts of the last seven seasons with the Los Angeles Kings, agreed to a two-year, $6.5 million deal with Washington. The Capitals did not figure to be active in the free agent market because of its presumed salary cap restraints.

A 6-foot-1, 189-pound right wing, Williams, 33, should assume a top-six role for the Capitals, who rotated through players at that position on the top line all season.

It likely also spells the end of the team’s pursuit of Joel Ward, the top-line right wing during the playoffs. Ward, 34, spent the last four seasons in Washington and has reportedly been seeking a contract of at least four years.

Known for his postseason success, Williams has tallied a record 14 points in his seven appearances in Game 7 of a playoff series. He had three goals and six assists in the Stanley Cup Final in 2014, earning recognition as the series’ most valuable player.

Williams was drafted in No. 28 overall by the Philadelphia Flyers in 2000 and spent parts of his first four seasons with the team. He was traded midway through the 2003-04 season to the Carolina Hurricanes, with whom he won the Stanley Cup in 2006, and then was traded to the Kings during the 2008-09 season.

A one-time 30-goal scorer, Williams hasn’t scored more than 20 goals since 2011-12, though he had 18 goals and 23 assists last season, drifting between the top three lines with the Kings.

Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan has said frequently that a top-six right wing was atop the team’s free agency wish list, though he believed that the most suitable option would likely be obtained through the trade market because of the salary cap situation.

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