NHL veteran Justin Williams announced Monday that he is stepping away from hockey.

Williams, 37, is an unrestricted free agent. He has played 18 seasons in the league, the past two years for the Carolina Hurricanes.

"This is the first time in my life that I've felt unsure of my aspirations with regards to hockey," Williams said in a statement. "For as long as I can remember, my whole offseason until this point has been hockey and doing what was necessary to prepare for the upcoming season. Because of my current indecision and without the type of mental and physical commitment that I'm accustomed to having, I've decided to step away from the game."

Williams joined the Hurricanes before the 2017-18 season and was named captain in September 2018. It was his second go-round with the franchise after spending parts of five seasons with the franchise in the mid-2000s.

During his first stint with Carolina, he was a member of the 2006 Stanley Cup-winning team.

Williams began with career with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2000-01 and also played for the Los Angeles Kings and Washington Capitals.

With the Kings, Williams was a member of Stanley Cup-winning teams in 2012 and 2014. Following the 2014 playoffs, he was awarded the Conn Smythe Award (playoff MVP) after scoring nine goals and 16 assists and posting a plus-13 rating in 26 postseason games.

For his career, Williams has 312 goals and 474 assists in 1,244 games.

Last season, he played in all 82 regular-season games, registering 53 points (23 goals, 30 assists).

"We appreciate Justin's honesty and openness throughout this process, and respect his decision," Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell said. "He's been an important part of our team, but we did prepare our roster with the understanding that he might step away. We are confident in the group we've assembled."

--Field Level Media

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