TSN is reporting that Jason Williams has signed a one year, 2.2-million dollar contract with the Atlanta Thrashers (hat tip to Lowetide). This is an excellent signing, both in terms of the player recieved and the dollars spent, and those are words that I rarely associate with the Atlanta Thrashers, a team that has been mismanaged since its inception to the league.
I wrote about Williams as a potential option for the Oilers at the start of June. Williams is a player who for various reasons flew under the radar when free agency opened; mostly due to a sports hernia which sidelined him for half of the season. He's something of a powerplay specialist, and played well in a power-vs.-power role with Chicago this past season. I imagine he's due to reprise that role, lining up with Kovalchuk and whoever on the top line.
I'd like to rip Lowe a little bit for not signing Williams, but he is another offense-first, smallish forward, and aside from a couple of things (powerplay ability, shooting) doesn't bring much that the Oilers are really lacking in, and he should end up being a better fit in Atlanta than in Edmonton. Given the dollar figure, though, I'm awfully surprised that guys like Scott Howson, Doug Risebrough or dare I say it, Brian Burke didn't take a long look at him. For a guy who can play the first line role, or as a first-rate second-line option on a contender, 2.2-million isn't much. Especially when up against the salary cap.
For that matter, isn't there a team in Alberta desperately short of firepower up front, tight to the salary cap, weak on the powerplay, and missing one tough-minutes skill forward from last season? I just can't seem to think of which team that would be...