HURRICANES AGREE TO TERMS WITH JUSTIN WILLIAMS
“Justin is a young player who we anticipate will play a significant role on our team,” said Rutherford. “He brings a good deal of NHL experience to our group of young forwards, and has demonstrated that he can develop into a top-level NHL player.”
In 2003-04, his fourth NHL season, Williams established career highs for games played (79), assists (33), points (44) and penalty minutes (64). Carolina acquired the 23-year-old Cobourg, Ont., native during the 2003-04 campaign from Philadelphia on Jan. 20, 2004, in exchange for defenseman Danny Markov, and Williams scored five goals and earned 13 assists (18 points) in 32 games with the Hurricanes. Following the 2003-04 season, Williams joined Team Canada for the 2004 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships in the Czech Republic and played in all nine of Canada’s games en route to the tournament’s gold medal.
Williams played for Lulea of the Swedish Elite League in 2004-05, scoring 14 goals, earning 18 assists (32 points) and accumulating 61 penalty minutes in 49 regular-season games. Williams ranked fourth among all Lulea skaters in scoring in the regular season. Hurricanes defenseman Niclas Wallin played with Williams for Lulea in 2004-05.
The Flyers selected Williams (6’ 1”, 190 lbs.) in the first round, 28th overall, in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, and Williams made Philadelphia’s NHL roster the following season after just two years in the Ontario Hockey League. In 258 career NHL games, Williams has scored 48 goals and notched 85 assists (133 points) while accumulating 140 penalty minutes. In his two OHL seasons with the Plymouth Whalers, Williams posted 41 goals and 54 assists (95 points) in 115 regular-season games, and tallied 30 points during Plymouth’s 23-game run to the 1999-00 OHL finals. His 14 goals and 30 points led the OHL in the 1999-00 playoffs, and his plus-47 plus/minus rating during the 1999-00 regular season was tied for best in the league.