Justin Williams almost signed with the Habs, has ‘no regrets’ about joining the Caps


Signing Justin Williams as a free agent was one of the best moves of the 2015 off-season for the Washington Capitals, but it almost didn’t happen.

Williams told the Journal de Montreal that he nearly chose to sign with the Montreal Canadiens.

“I almost signed with the Montreal,” admitted Williams (quotes have been translated). “Yes, the Canadiens made me a good offer. It wasn’t a question of money, the offer was really good. I have no regrets today. I’m glad I decided to come to Washington.”

It’s hard to blame the 34-year-old for thinking that way.

After just 59 games in 2015-16, Williams has already surpassed his offensive totals from last season.

He has 19 goals, 42 points and a plus-21 rating while mainly playing on Washington’s second line.

“When I was comparing the two teams, I thought that both were two of the stronger teams in the Eastern Conference,” Williams told The Journal’s Jean-Francois Chaumont. “I knew that both teams were looking to add a right winger.

“Joining the Capitals was intriguing to me because I knew I’d have a chance to play with centers Nicklas Backstrom or Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Alex Ovechkin on the left side. That’s not bad at all.”

Williams, who’s won three Stanley Cups, believes the Capitals have all the makings of a team that can go all the way.

Washington is currently sitting atop the NHL standings, and there’s no one within 10 points of them, but there’s still a long way to go before they reach their goal.

“This team has a lot of the ingredients you need to make a long playoff run, but we’ll see what happens. There’s still over 20 games left in the regular season. We want to be playing hockey in June. We’re not going to lie, our goal is to win the Stanley Cup.

“With the Capitals, it’s cup or bust this year.”