Opinion Piece by Chris Cleveland
I am really loving this Caps first line right now with Ovi-Nicki-JWilly. I was honestly a little upset when Ovechkin and Backstrom didn’t get to play together that much last season because of all the line juggling. If you let those guys play together the whole season without screwing with the first line too much, you can easily get 80-90 points out of each of them.
I hope Coach Trotz keeps them together the rest of the season. I’m getting kind of tired of this line juggling. However, the move I am really liking is moving Justin Williams up to the first line. Williams is like a younger better version of Mike Knuble, and we all remember how well Knuble was playing with Nicki and Alex.
Like Knuble, Williams is great at creating scoring chances for his line mates. In 220 games, Knuble’s goal creating average with the Caps was 0.21 compared to Williams 0.23 percentage in 91 games as a Cap. Not only does Williams create opportunities, as a leader, he is doing a darn good job of scoring himself. Right now, his goal per game average is 0.25 and 0.33 average per game assists. He continues to play at the high level he did for the LA Kings and was a huge contribution to the team winning the Stanley Cup twice.
Williams has a big body, like Knuble, and loves to hang around the net to get the garbage goals. If Trotz is serious about winning the cup this year, I think his answer might be keeping Ovechkin – Backstrom – Williams together on the first line. If Ovechkin needs someone setting him up, Nicky and Justin seem to be the right combination. It could really be the magic Caps need to carry this team all the way to the finals.
Who knew this could be a Knuble-like era all over again, this time with Justin Williams? We look forward to seeing out he rounds out the season, on the first line or where ever Coach puts him.