Justin Williams officially returns to Carolina Hurricanes; veteran's first game back still to be determined

Sporting News

Justin Williams may have lost his "C" patch, but he has his roster spot back.

The former Carolina Hurricanes captain has officially agreed on a one-year deal worth $700,000 with $1.3 million in potential bonuses for individual and team play in the regular season and Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Williams was in attendance for Tuesday's overtime win against the Philadelphia Flyers, taking in the event alongside team owner Thomas Dundon, and it didn't take long after their victory for the Hurricanes to announce the return of No. 14.

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Though Williams is now officially a member of the club again, fans shouldn't necessarily expect him to suit up in the team's next game against the Arizona Coyotes on Friday. NHL.com reported that the veteran's official return is still to be determined, but that fans should look toward the team's three home games between Jan. 17-21 for his first game back.

"I'm just going to work my way back to where I feel comfortable, when [head coach Rod Brind'amour] feels I'm comfortable to play," Williams told NHL.com. "You can't put a time on it. Whenever it happens, it happens."

On Monday, Sportsnet's John Shannon reported that the Hurricanes made a final offer to Williams in order to get him back for the rest of the season.

Williams played five seasons with Carolina from 2003-2009 before being traded to Los Angeles on March 4, 2009. Williams returned to Raleigh in 2017 when he signed with the Canes as a free agent. Last season, he was third on the team with 53 points (23 goals, 30 assists) and recorded seven points in the playoffs (four goals, three assists).

Williams had announced he was stepping away from the game in September in light of his indecision about returning for another season. The forward had apparently resumed skating and working out in the last few months and during that time period decided he was both mentally and physically ready to return to the NHL. Despite rumors that other teams made Williams offers in recent days, the forward said his heart was set on returning to the Hurricanes.

"This has been an ongoing dialogue," Williams told NHL.com. "They gave me the opportunity and time I needed to decide what I wanted to do."

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