The Carolina Hurricanes have announced a deal with veteran forward Justin Williams. The 38-year-old has not played in 2019-20 but will join a Hurricanes squad in the middle of a competitive Metropolitan Division. The deal is a one-year contract with a league-minimum $700,000 cap hit.
— NHL (@NHL) January 8, 2020
Justin Williams Returns to Carolina
Williams should be well-rested in his return to Carolina. The veteran forward posted 23 goals and 53 points in 82 games in 2018-19 for a team that reached last year’s Eastern Conference Finals. Overall, Williams has scored 312 goals and 786 points in 1244 games. He should be a welcome addition for a team in the middle of its divisional race. Carolina will benefit greatly from his presence and scoring ability.
Williams captained the Hurricanes during the 2018-19 season, only his second year in Carolina. Despite his age, he’s tallied a combined 104 points through 164 games with the Hurricanes. This makes his signing fairly attractive. There might be some concerns around Williams’ age but the team could let the veteran rest occasionally. He has also been working to get to peak shape, despite not playing since last season, so his transition back will likely be fairly seamless. If so, this could give Carolina the potent top-nine forward that they have sought all season long.
What This Means for the Future
This deal could represent Williams’ last effort for one more Stanley Cup. He has been in the league since 2001-01 and has won it three times. His last Cup victory came with the 2013-14 Los Angeles Kings but his recent stats indicate he has life left in the tank. He has also won the Conn Smythe Trophy once, as the playoff MVP.
The team should also benefit from his experience down the stretch. Carolina is fourth in the Metropolitan, five points behind both the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders as of Tuesday night. 20-25 points over the final 41 games is a reasonable expectation for a player who will turn 39 in October.