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Justin Williams leaving Washington Capitals, rejoins Carolina Hurricanes

By
Alex Butler
Washington Capitals right wing Justin Williams (14) is returning to the Carolina Hurricanes after two seasons with the Capitals. File photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI
Washington Capitals right wing Justin Williams (14) is returning to the Carolina Hurricanes after two seasons with the Capitals. File photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

July 2 (UPI) -- Former Conn Smythe Trophy winner Justin Williams has signed with the Carolina Hurricanes.

"I'm thrilled to get the opportunity to come back," Williams told NHL.com. "There are a lot of emotions. It's hard to describe every one of them. Excitement is one of the big ones. Once we were getting close to a deal, there was a smile on my face and my wife's face. We're excited for the opportunity. I'm excited for the opportunity to work with a coaching staff that I'm pretty familiar with and a team that's trending up in the right direction, for sure."

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The right-winger agreed to a two-year contract with the team on Saturday, according to NHL.com. His new deal is worth $5 million in 2017 and $4 million in 2018.

"He's still shown he can score goals, so we expect him to score some goals for us. He's won three Stanley Cups in his career," Hurricanes executive vice president and general manager Ron Francis told NHL.com. "He's shown in the big games that he rises to that level he needs to get to to be successful. On a team with a lot of young players, we think he's going to have a huge influence in our locker room in getting those guys to understand what it takes to be successful."

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Williams, 35, played with the franchise for five years, from 2003 to 2008. He was part of the 2006 Stanley Cup winning team and later won two more cups with the Los Angeles Kings in 2012 and 2014.

"You have to go through trying years and failure before you get to your goal," Williams told NHL.com. "We're done losing. It's time to climb the ladder and get relevant."

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He signed in 2015 as a free agent with the Capitals. Williams had 24 goals and 24 assists in 80 games last season. That scoring total was his highest since 2006.

"Beyond excited to begin the season and put the @NHLCanes jersey back on again," Williams tweeted. "Watch out for the canes this year."

Williams became a fan favorite with the Capitals, partially due to his impressive hair. Last season he mimicked the cast of Stepbrothers with teammate Andre Burakovsky on team photo day.

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"Thank you to the @Capitals organization and their fans for 2 good years," Williams added on Twitter. "Didn't reach our goal but will cherish the time I spent there."

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