The Stephon Williams signing with the New York Islanders was announced today, a two-year entry level contract that begins in 2015-16. But first, the Minnesota State-Mankato goaltender is on his way to Bridgeport today on an AHL ATO.
He catches left, and is listed at 6'2, 195 lbs. As discussed around these parts last night, he joins an evolving crease in Bridgeport, where CJ Motte -- recently of NCAA Ferris State -- is on an AHL deal for the rest of the season.
Williams was the second goalie the Islanders selected in the 2013 NHL Draft (4th round, 106), after they picked his old Waterloo (USHL) creasemate Eamon McAdam in the third round. Williams, drafted at age 20, had already completed one season at Minnesota where he was named WCHA Rookie of the Year. (McAdam has just finished his second season with Penn State.)
Like McAdam, this season Williams rebounded from a poor 2013-14. Except in Williams' case, it was with an NCAA-second-best GAA (1.65, .925 save%) on a top-seeded team. There is always the caveat, however, that his Mavericks play in a weakened WCHA after a couple of conference powers left for the Big 10 ignited by Penn State's arrival.
Regardless, two of his three seasons in NCAA featured impressive numbers, and the middle season was widely believed affected by offseason surgery. Now he gets to try his game in the pros.
Says SBN College Hockey:
Williams is known for his aggressive, sometimes erratic style of goaltending. He is also perhaps best known for intentionally flipping over his own net in the final minutes of a game against Minnesota earlier this season.
The Alaskan native is in good company on that last part.
More from SBN College Hockey's Chris Dilks:
He plays a very aggressive style, which sometimes gets him out of position and flopping around in the crease. He's got a really colorful personality and sometimes lets his emotions get the better of him(see: him flipping his own net over), but overall is a really good kid.
He really improved on the mental side of things this year, adjusting to not seeing as many shots as he did as a freshman--something that he really struggled with as a sophomore--in addition to getting healthier after having off-season hip surgery after his freshman season.