On October 8th, 2020, Justin Williams announced his retirement after 21 seasons in the NHL. Williams, aged 39, ends his career having won three Stanley Cups.
Williams started his career in 2000, when he was drafted 28th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers. During his four seasons with the Flyers, Williams totalled 115 points with an average Plus/Minus of 10.5. Williams started to show his prowess for the power play with his first team where he recorded 12 points. Partway through the 2003-04 season, Williams was traded to the Hurricanes, which saw Danil Markov sent to the Flyers in exchange.
This would start Williams in his first stint with Carolina. This stint with the ‘Canes would last five seasons from 2004-2009. During his first stint with the Hurricanes, Williams totalled 201 points, while taking the ice in 265 games.
Williams started to earn the nickname Mr. Game 7 in Carolina, playing in his second and third game seven with the team, winning both games. He also netted two assists and one goal in two games. This performance would help the Hurricanes win a Stanley Cup and place his name on the cup for the very first time. During the 2008-09 season, Williams was traded to the L.A. Kings in exchange for Patrick O’Sullivan and a 2009 second-round pick.
Williams played seven seasons with the Los Angeles Kings. During this time, the forward netted an impressive 266 points, while having played in 427 games. Williams continued to earn the nickname Mr.Game 7 as he helped the Kings win four times in game seven.
This would see Williams get to lift two more Stanley Cups, as well as winning a Conn Smythe Trophy in 2013-14. Williams helped the Kings significantly in their Stanley Cup win. He played in Los Angeles until his contract ran out, and he entered the free agent market, where the Washington Capitals would sign him for two years.
The Capitals would serve as the veteran’s team for two seasons. During this time, Williams would plat 162 games, totalling 100 points throughout that time span. During both seasons with the Capitals, Williams helped his team push for the Stanley Cup, scoring 16 points in 25 games. At the end of 2016-17, Williams would end his brief stint with Washington, going back to the Hurricanes after becoming a free agent again.
During his second stint with the Hurricanes, he would finally get to wear the captain’s C for 2018-19. Williams would play three seasons with the Hurricanes, in which he recorded 115 points. Williams was able to lead his current team to knock out his former team, the Washington Capitals, in the Stanley Cup playoffs. This was back in 2018-19.
After a wild 2019-20 season, which was cut short due to COVID-19, and an unconventional postseason, Williams announced that he would hang up the skates.
Outside of the NHL, Williams won two gold medals with Team Canada at the IIHF World Championships. He won medals with Hockey Canada in both 2004 and 2007. He did so while skating with Eric and Jordan Staal, Shea Weber and Jonathan Toews. After a legendary career, seeing Williams play in over 1,200 games, the hockey world bids farewell to Canadian right-winger, Justin Williams.