8:00pm: Williams was in attendance at PNC Arena on Tuesday night and it seems he was doing more than just taking in the Hurricanes-Flyers game. LeBrun reports that Williams has tentatively agreed on a contract with Carolina, with an official signing and announcement likely to arrive on Wednesday.
4:20pm: Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic tweets that the Toronto Maple Leafs also “made a pitch” to Williams this week, while confirming Boston’s interest.
1:35pm: Last night, while the the hockey world was focused on Connor McDavid’s wizardry and Peter Laviolette’s unemployment, John Shannon of Sportsnet provided an update on the situation involving Justin Williams and Carolina Hurricanes. There have been various reports over the last few weeks that suggested Williams’ semi-retirement could be coming to an end, but nothing has yet been finalized with the league.
Shannon tweets that the Hurricanes made a final offer to Williams yesterday to return to the team for the rest of the season, but also notes that if the veteran forward doesn’t sign in Carolina, the Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning will “try and sign” him.
Luke DeCock of the Raleigh News & Observer however reported this afternoon that negotiations between the Hurricanes and Williams are ongoing, with the team “pushing for resolution in next 24 hours.”
Whatever that resolution is, there’s no guarantee that Williams will even be much help to an NHL team this season. The 38-year old forward has always come up big in important games, earning him the nickname “Mr. Game 7” but now hasn’t played any meaningful hockey in nearly eight months. Who knows how long it would take him to get up to speed, even if he was an effective option for the club last season.
In 82 contests during the 2018-19 campaign, the eighth consecutive season he has missed two or fewer games, Williams recorded 23 goals and 53 points. That included five game-winners to take his career total to 42 in the regular season (50 overall).