Carolina Hurricanes: 5 Most Important Players of the Postseason Surge

RALEIGH, NC - MAY 03: Carolina Hurricanes center Jordan Staal (11), Carolina Hurricanes right wing Nino Niederreiter (21) Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin (74), and Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton (19) congratulate Carolina Hurricanes right wing Justin Williams (14) after scoring his 100th playoff point during a game between the Carolina Hurricanes and the New York Islanders on March 3, 2019 at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC. (Photo by Greg Thompson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
RALEIGH, NC - MAY 03: Carolina Hurricanes center Jordan Staal (11), Carolina Hurricanes right wing Nino Niederreiter (21) Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin (74), and Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton (19) congratulate Carolina Hurricanes right wing Justin Williams (14) after scoring his 100th playoff point during a game between the Carolina Hurricanes and the New York Islanders on March 3, 2019 at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC. (Photo by Greg Thompson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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RALEIGH, NC – MAY 03: Carolina Hurricanes right wing Justin Williams (14) laughs after being thrown out of the face-off circle during a game between the Carolina Hurricanes and the New York Islanders on March 3, 2019 at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC. (Photo by Greg Thompson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
RALEIGH, NC – MAY 03: Carolina Hurricanes right wing Justin Williams (14) laughs after being thrown out of the face-off circle during a game between the Carolina Hurricanes and the New York Islanders on March 3, 2019 at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC. (Photo by Greg Thompson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

2) Justin Williams

No matter the team competing in playoff hockey, there is always an emphasis on the performance of their Captain. The Hurricanes Captain, Justin Williams, is no different. The youth of this team, the inexperience of this group, and the early season struggles that plagued their ascension into playoff caliber performance where all things that depended on his leadership.

Not only did Williams succeed in leading this team, he was the driving force for this playoff run. It is easy to look at his statistics and to be less than impressed. He was seventh on the team in playoff points, and only contributed four goals in 15 games; all without mentioning his breakdown in the early games of the Boston series.

What is quickly overlooked, however, is how much leadership was displayed by Williams early in that postseason run. He stayed true to his nickname during game seven against Washington and displayed a belief in his teammates that catapulted them as far as they could go. Mental fatigue was their downfall, but the Captain was the face of such an incredible season.

Williams was the grizzled, battle-hardened warrior going out to battle with the young, naive, and eager. It was his steady hand that helped to guide their talents. After years of being relied upon as another contributing factor on winning teams, Williams proved that he could, in fact, lead; and, if he chooses to return, this could be just the beginning of their ascension.