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Carolina Hurricanes sign Justin Williams to one-year contract; Storm Advisory 1/8/20

He won’t be the captain anymore, but he’ll add a familiar face and a needed component to the lineup.

Jamie Kellner

RALEIGH — He’s back.

Justin Williams is returning to the NHL with the Carolina Hurricanes, three months after announcing that he was taking a break from the game prior to the start of training camp. The Hurricanes announced that Williams has signed a contract for the remainder of the season, which will pay him a base salary of $700,000, the league minimum, plus a possible $1.3 million in incentives.

“We’ve been in frequent contact with Justin over the last few months regarding his status,” said Hurricanes GM Don Waddell in a statement. “We’re thrilled that he has decided to return to playing, and we’re confident that adding him to our group will help us both on and off the ice.”

A press conference is scheduled for Wednesday at PNC Arena.

Williams announced on the eve of training camp in September that he was taking a break from hockey but never called it a full retirement, leaving the door open for an eventual return. He led the Hurricanes to the third round of the playoffs last season, and lived up to his nickname of “Mr. Game 7” by tallying an assist on Brock McGinn’s overtime goal that eliminated the defending champion Washington Capitals in the first round. He turned 38 the day after the season began, and remained in Raleigh coaching youth hockey over the past few months.

Williams was spotted in owner Tom Dundon’s suite at Tuesday’s overtime win against the Philadelphia Flyers wearing a Hurricanes hat, and it seemed that the obvious was inevitable. The news was first reported by Williams’ hometown newspaper, Today’s Northumberland of Cobourg, Ontario, and was confirmed by the team in a press release shortly after the end of the Canes’ overtime win.

The release from the team is below.

Three-time Stanley Cup Champion returns for the remainder of 2019-20 season

Don Waddell, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has signed forward Justin Williams to a one-year contract for the remainder of the 2019-20 season. The contract will pay Williams a base salary of $700,000, and he can earn an additional $1.3 million in potential bonuses based on individual and team play in the regular season and Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Williams, 38, has recorded 786 points (312g, 474a) in 1,244 career NHL games with the Hurricanes, Flyers, Kings and Capitals. He is a three-time Stanley Cup Champion, winning titles with Carolina in 2006 and Los Angeles in 2012 and 2014 and winning the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2014. Williams has tallied 305 points (120g, 185a) in 429 career games with the Hurricanes, ranking seventh in team history (since relocation) in goals and assists and ninth in points. He is one of nine players in NHL history to score 100 goals and win the Stanley Cup with two different franchises.

“We’ve been in frequent contact with Justin over the last few months regarding his status,”said Waddell. “We’re thrilled that he has decided to return to playing, and we’re confident that adding him to our group will help us both on and off the ice.”

The 6’1”, 184-pound forward was named the 16th captain in franchise history on Sept. 13, 2018. During the 2018-19 regular season, he posted 53 points (23g, 30a) to help guide the Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2009. In the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Williams recorded seven points (4g, 3a) in 15 games as the Hurricanes advanced to the Eastern Conference Final. During the 2018-19 regular season, Williams posted his highest single-season point total since 2011-12 and scored 20 goals for the seventh time in his career. Williams was selected by his teammates as the winner of the 2018-19 Steve Chiasson Award, presented annually to the Hurricanes player that best exemplifies determination and dedication while proving to be an inspiration to his teammates through his performance and approach to the game.

Reading Assignments

  • Former Hurricanes forward Tim Brent is coming back to the Triangle, not to play hockey, but to head up the local operations of a Minnesota real estate investment company. [Triangle Business Journal]
  • Despite a 150-159-45 record with a Hart Trophy player, John Hynes has been named the third head coach of the Nashville Predators. This comes a day after Peter Laviolette’s firing. [ESPN]
  • Everyone wants NHL players back in the Winter Olympics. The IIHF have given the NHL a deadline on their decision on participation. [NBC Sports]
  • Who’s the front runner for the Calder Trophy? What if it were broken down by position? [Sportsnet]