Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Will Jeremy Williams finally stick with the Leafs?

Williams, who scored in each of his first three NHL games, over three NHL seasons, has never been able to stick with the Maple Leafs, until now...

Drafted 220th overall in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by the Maple Leafs, Williams, 24, has yet to play a full NHL season in Toronto. Over four seasons, he has only played 23 games, notching seven goals and one assist after yesterday's 3-2 OT win against the Devils. This year, Williams has three goals and one assist in only three games (he's already +4), after the Leafs recalled him on December 8th when Niklas Hagman went down with concussion-like symptoms.

Known for his offensive abilities, Williams is a great playmaker who has a knack for putting pucks in the net.
Williams has also really improved his acceleration and top-end speed in recent years, which has helped him even more offensively. He also seems stronger on his skates this season, especially with the puck.

The Regina native has seen about 15 minutes of ice-time per game this season, an increase over his previous call-ups, which is a good indication that he will likely stick for the whole 2008-2009 season, especially when newly-appointed Leafs' GM Brian Burke starts getting rid of some veterans with hefty contracts (Kaberle, Kubina, Blake for instance).

It's a make or break season for Williams, who at 24, might not figure in the Leafs' plan anymore if he can't step up and produce consistently in the NHL.

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