Justin Williams has yet to decide whether he will return to the Carolina Hurricanes or retire after 18 NHL seasons, general manager Don Waddell said Monday.
"[Carolina owner Tom Dundon] and I have both talked to Justin and the feeling is that he's still debating it, I'm not sure which way," Waddell said. "If you asked me, I said a while back I thought he would probably be playing, but we're still in contact with Justin and he's trying to make a decision that's best for him and his family."
Williams, who turns 38 on Oct. 4, became an unrestricted free agent July 1 after the two-year, $9 million contract he signed with Carolina on July 1, 2017, expired. Last season, his first as Hurricanes captain, the forward had 53 points (23 goals, 30 assists) in 82 regular-season games and seven points (four goals, three assists) in 15 Stanley Cup Playoff games, helping Carolina advance to the Eastern Conference Final for the first time since 2009.
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Williams told the Hurricanes after the season that he needed some time to decide his future. On June 18, at the 2019 NHL Awards in Las Vegas, where he was a finalist for the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award, he said he wasn't in a rush to make that decision.
"I'm going to take my time and make sure I make the right one, right?" Williams said. "Because if I'm all in, I'm going to be all in. If I'm not quite all there, then I have to reassess the situation. I'm not going to be good if I'm 85 percent all in. I've got to be all in. That's the only thing that's fair to me, fair to the teammates, fair to everybody."
A three-time Stanley Cup champion (Carolina in 2006; Los Angeles Kings in 2012, 2014), Williams has 786 points (312 goals, 474 assists) in 1,244 regular-regular season games and 101 points (40 goals, 61 assists) 155 playoff games.