The Return. When Justin Williams signed with the Hurricanes in the summer of 2017, he stated his reasons why he chose Carolina and what he hoped to accomplish while he was here. He wanted to get the team back to where he knew they could be. A captaincy, a storm surge, and an impromptu trip to the Eastern Conference Finals and it is safe to say the Canes are relevant again. While they didn’t win the Stanley Cup, it’s hard to call last season anything but a success (Brind’amour would disagree, I think).
A Bunch of Jerks. What a difference an offseason makes. A new coach, a new captain, a new GM, a new set of goalies, and some youth taking the next step helped guide the team to their best season in a decade. Williams, credited with creating the Storm Surge, was the guiding force behind it all. The team captured media attention for the celebrations, then for being a Bunch of Jerks, and finally for being a good hockey team. Anyone watching could see Williams was leaving it all out on the ice. Penalties born out of fatigue and frustration marked the opening games against Boston in the ECF. The Jerks made it back and emptied the tank in the process.
Going Out On Top. What else is left for Justin Williams to accomplish? One more cup? He has all the hardware he needs. He’s played 1244 games in the NHL. No one will ever doubt his desire to compete and he’s left a legacy in that locker room of doing whatever it takes to win a hockey game. He instilled in the team an aura, a swagger, of never backing down and that just being good isn’t good enough. He was the perfect captain for the perfect time and I have no doubt that if he wanted to give it another go the team would welcome him back with open arms. But, if he doesn’t come back he could skate into the sunset knowing he accomplished his goal that he set for himself when he signed back in 2017. The Canes are relevant again.