From The Ice

Stephon Williams Opting for Isles Next Fall

Stephon Williams Opting for Isles Next Fall
Cat Silverman

Stephon Williams was drafted in his third year of eligibility, following an impressive freshman year at Minnesota State University, by the New York Islanders.

Not one of the 35 goaltenders ranked by the Central American Scouting group, Williams was taken as a late round sleeper by the franchise; going 106th overall in the fourth round of the 2013 Entry Draft, he was one of multiple netminders taken by the Islanders that year. A safety pick, if you will.

His sophomore season didn’t do much to make a case for him moving up the depth chart, either. He lost the starting job to freshman Cole Huggins, although the reclaimed his title as the clear starter the following season — although the Islanders had taken a chance on him, it didn’t look like he would pan out.

Williams seems to have rediscovered his game, though, and the six foot three Alaska native is back on track for an impressive career — which is likely why he’s chosen to forfeit his final season of NCAA eligibility to sign with the Islanders.

Per Brian Compton of NHL.com, the 21-year-old netminder has been inked to a two year entry-level deal, and is joining the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL on an amateur tryout contract for the remainder of the spring.

Bridgeport currently has only one clear starter. Like Adam Wilcox (who was signed by the Tampa Bay Lightning Wednesday and assigned to the Syracuse Crunch for the remainder of the spring), Williams will be provided the opportunity to quickly climb the depth chart within the Islanders’ system due to a lack of strong goaltending depth in the lower rungs of the system. Kevin Poulin, a 2008 fifth round pick of the Islanders, has struggled in his few games at the NHL level — although he currently holds the starter job in Bridgeport and will likely be Williams’ strongest competition below the two NHL netminders — and C.J. Motte, who was signed to an entry-level contract of his own this spring, hasn’t been around long enough yet to really show whether he’ll be a strong competitor in the long run. Kent Simpson is the main starter for the ECHL Stockton Thunder, but hasn’t yet made the transition to the AHL level — if Williams can finish out the spring with a stronger showing than the former second-round pick, Simpson may be trapped in the minors.

While Williams had weaker stats over his three seasons in the NCAA than Motte did with Ferris State University, Motte went undrafted (likely due to his smaller stature) and could see Williams receive early favor from the team if the Alaska native shows he’s willing to work and transition smoothly between the NCAA and the pros.

');doc.close(); })(document);
From The Ice
Cat Silverman
@catacarryon

Catherine is the first American in a long line of Canadians, making her the black sheep before she even decided she wasn’t going to be a Leafs fan. Her cousins may never forgive her for the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, but they’re at least glad she’s a rink rat, too. She’s a pretty terrible goalie, but she’s got a good grasp on the game from her seat on the bench.

More in From The Ice

April 18, 2015: St. Louis Blues' rightwing Vladimir Tarasenko (91) is congratulated by his teammates after scoring in the first period during Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals between the Minnesota Wild and the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo. The Blues won, 4-1.

Vladimir Tarasenko Cashes in With Eight-Year Deal

Cat SilvermanJuly 7, 2015
October 21, 2014: Arizona Coyotes left wing Mikkel Boedker (89) skates with the puck during the NHL game between the Nashville Predators and the Arizona Coyotes, held at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.  ***Editorial Use Only***

Mikkel Boedker Accepts One Year Deal With Coyotes

Cat SilvermanJuly 7, 2015
15 June 2015:  Tampa Bay Lightning Center Cedric Paquette (13) [9861] battles with Chicago Blackhawks Defenceman Trevor van Riemsdyk (57) [8749] and Chicago Blackhawks Goalie Corey Crawford (50) [3760] in action during game Six of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center, in Chicago, IL.

Trevor van Riemsdyk Sees Extension with Chicago

Cat SilvermanJuly 7, 2015
sherrot

Who is Kole Sherwood, Columbus’ Newest Forward?

Cat SilvermanJuly 7, 2015
27 April 2015:  Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov (92) celebrates his game winning goal against the New York Islanders at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. where the Washington Capitals defeated the New York Islanders, 2-1 in the deciding game of Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Evgeny Kuznetsov Gets Two Year Deal

Cat SilvermanJuly 6, 2015
11 APR 2014: New Jersey Devils center Ryan Carter (20) goes for the puck in front of New York Islanders goalie Anders Nilsson (45) during the second period of the game between the New Jersey Devils and the New York Islanders played at the Prudential Center in Newark,NJ. The New York Islanders defeated the New Jersey Devils 3-2 in a shootout.

Anders Nilsson Sees Rights Dealt Yet Again (Updated)

Cat SilvermanJuly 6, 2015
11 April 2015: Boston Bruins right wing Brett Connolly (14) during the NHL regular season game between the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL.

Bruins Lock Up Brett Connolly, Jimmy Hayes With Deals

Cat SilvermanJuly 6, 2015
14 March 2015 : Vancouver Canucks Center Shawn Matthias (27) attempts to check Toronto Maple Leafs Defenceman Dion Phaneuf (3)   during a game at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.   ****For Editorial Use Only****

Shawn Matthias Gets Shot With Rebuilding Leafs

Cat SilvermanJuly 6, 2015
Cap

Interview with Hockey’s Cap: Searching for a CapGeek Heir

Sean TierneyJuly 6, 2015