Here at Tend The Farm we got wind of a potential vet signing nearly a week ago. The “tipster” suggested it would be someone “long in the tooth”, “a familiar name”, and “likely a defender”. Two out of three ain’t bad, and instead we get Jason Williams.
Williams, of course, is about as seasoned as they come. 400+ NHL games, a Stanley Cup winner, a player who has had games in four different leagues around the world – he is the Webster 1868 definition of a veteran signing. He, of course, plays center. The irony here is that the Edmonton Oilers needed a really strong, vet center to shoulder some of the youthfulness (and turrbleness) at that position. Instead, it’s the OKC Barons that have a logjam of centerman (five), and probably would have been “A-Okay” in terms of not having a vet centerman. Nonetheless, we get one, and he will be put to good use.
In the same mode as Brad Moran, the Barons needed a well-traveled fella to help guide the ship from the start of the season to the end. The captaincy of a minor league team isn’t any more or less valuable than it is in the majors, but coaches and teams place heavy emphasis on it. More important than captaincy is certainly age and knowledge – two things that the nearly 34 year old Williams possesses. Therefore, this is a signing of safety, and hopefully 20+ goals. Also, per Eric Rodgers the genius of knowledge, Williams logged minutes as a Thrasher while Todd Nelson was hanging around ATL. That’s good company right there.
I’m going to go out on a limb and believe that our “tipster” is going to indeed prove true, and the world gifts us a vet defender. Yet I fully realize that the team is looking nearly complete. That’s both good and disconcerting. Then again, we have been surprised before. I hope the same happens here.
Via the Oklahoma City Barons release:
The Oklahoma City Barons signed centerman Jason Williams to an American Hockey League contract, the club’s front office announced today.
Williams, a 5-11, 185-pounder from London, Ontario has played the last two seasons with Ambri-Piotta in the Swiss Elite League. During those two seasons, he recorded 64 points (34-30-64) in 79 games. During the 12-13 season, he led the team with 26 goals and 46 points.
Williams has appeared in over 800 games during his pro career, including 455 games at the NHL level with Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, Columbus, Dallas and Pittsburgh. Williams has appeared in 249 AHL games with Cincinnati, Grand Rapids, Hartford/Connecticut Whale and most recently Wilkes-Barre Scranton. In 826 professional games, he recorded 549 points (241-308-549).
Prior to turning pro, he played four full seasons with the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League. During those four seasons, he appeared in 251 games and scored 194 points (74-120-194).