He Cane, saw and went

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:30 AM ET

Justin Williams was caught off guard when told he was heading to the City of Angels.

The Los Angeles Kings forward did not expect to move prior to the NHL trade deadline, in part because he had just signed a five-year contract extension with the Carolina Hurricanes and because he was on injured reserve.

But the Kings desperately wanted the six-foot-one, 195-pound right winger, and were involved in a three-way deal -- which included the Edmonton Oilers -- to get him.

"I signed a five-year deal with Carolina thinking I was going to be there for five years," Williams said. "Being on injured reserve and the fact that I got told about an hour after the trade deadline threw me for a loop also.

"I was shocked, but it's just another chapter in the life we live as professional hockey players."

Williams was acquired by the Kings in exchange for winger Patrick O'Sullivan and a second-round draft pick. The Hurricanes then flipped O'Sullivan and the pick to the Oilers for Erik Cole and a fifth-round selection. The Oilers then traded the second-round pick to the Buffalo Sabres for Ales Kotalik.

"Being wanted is huge, you know you are going to get a chance to come and produce," Williams said. "When I got traded from Philadelphia to Carolina that was also the case. Getting traded here, it's kind of odd that I'm 27 years old and I'm one of the older guys here. It's something that I'm looking forward to, something I'm going to relish and I'm going to rededicate to being the impact player I was before I got hurt."

Williams spent the better part of five seasons with the Hurricanes, winning the Stanley Cup in 2006, beating the Oilers in the final.

"I know Justin very well with him coming in with the Flyers," said Kings head coach Terry Murray. "He really got things sorted out in his career and got it on track when he got to Carolina. He was a big part of that Stanley Cup team.

"He's a player that gives us skill, energy and scoring. He's a 30-goal scorer. He's a player that plays with your best players and uses that skill at full speed. He's also a guy that we use on our special teams, penalty-killing in particular. He's a pretty good all-around player."

Williams has had his two most productive seasons to date with the Hurricanes, finished with 31 goals and 45 assists in 82 games the year they won the Stanley Cup. He followed that up with a 33-goal season the following year. Injuries have since sidetracked him, although he did play in his 500th game Monday in Calgary.

"I don't think he really has his legs under him yet," Murray said. "It might not happen until training camp of next year until he's able to get in a full summer of hard work to come in and get ready to get going. But I think that's when we'll see the real Justin Williams at that time."

Having been limited to 41 games this season, Williams had four goals and nine assists heading into last night's game against the Oilers.

With the injury problems now behind him, the Kings are counting on the native of Coborug, Ont., to provide experience and leadership to an otherwise young lineup.

"It's very important when you bring in a skilled player that's been through the battles and has a Stanley Cup ring," Murray said. "Those are things you talk about as a coach, but it's very hard for players to understand. He knows and can sit down with some of these guys, and then on the ice show what it takes to go out and play hard every night and play the right way every night."


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