Justin Williams remains undecided on his playing future, but Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell said Tuesday the team is optimistic they will have their captain back next season.
"We've been in contact with Justin here recently," Waddell told NHL.com. "He hasn't given us 100 per cent yet which way he's going to go. I think he potentially could be leaning toward playing, but I think in the next few weeks it will shake out."
Williams, 37, posted 23 goals and 53 points in 82 games this past season, his highest offensive totals since the 2011-12 season. He did so while playing out the final season of a two-year, $9 million contract signed with the Hurricanes in 2017, returning to the team eight years after being traded to the Los Angeles Kings. He added four goals and seven points in 15 playoff games.
A veteran of 18 NHL seasons, Williams said after the playoffs that he would only continue his career in Carolina.
"I haven't made a decision yet," Williams said when the Hurricanes cleaned out their lockers in May. "You don't do those things irrationally. You put thought into it. You find out inside whether you have the full capabilities emotionally and physically to do it. I put everything I had into it this year. If I have everything again, then I'll be here."
A veteran of 1,242 NHL games, Williams is a three-time Stanley Cup champion and won the Conn Smythe Trophy with the Kings in 2014. He has 312 goals and 785 points over his 18-year career.