Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Nigel Williams Leaves Wisconsin

The Capital Times' Todd Milewski is reporting that Wisconsin freshman defenseman Nigel Williams has left Wisconsin to play in the OHL for the Saginaw Spirit. Apparently he really likes the Colbert Report.

Williams had only played in one of Wisconsin's first 10 games, and wasn't traveling with the team. It seems like a pretty clear cut case of a kid not being happy with his playing time and wanting to make a move.

I think it's now officially safe to say that the decision to bring Williams to Wisconsin as a 2006 recruit was a mistake. Williams has outstanding physical talent, but was just a little too raw for NCAA hockey. Wisconsin's coaches thought a year with the NTDP last season would be enough seasoning, but that ended up not being the case.

The real shame in this is that I'm not sure that this was the best career move for Williams. He's already been drafted, so it's not like his draft stock is going to drop by not playing, and I think he's at least a couple years away from being ready to play at the pro level. Playing all those games won't necessarily be terrible for him, but I think he would really benefit from spending more time in practice and learning the game a little better, which he would have got at Wisconsin. Regardless, he's a talented kid and I wish him the best.


Anonymous said...

How can you say it's not a good move for him. He's got this season and 2 more before he'll need to turn pro. That's the same as if he'd signed after his JR year. His stock is being affected by him not playing. Now in the O he can be at training camp for Colorado and also have a chance to sign early. 66 games plus playoffs, for 3 years over 200 games and the CHL teams are on the ice more for practice than ncaa teams anyway. Oh ya school is still a FULL RIDE while playing in the CHL. He should take 2 to 3 classes in season and 2 or 3 in the summer, its all free for him.
So why is it a bad deal again.... I like the blog keep it coming.

Anonymous said...

Probably plays generally older and tougher compettion in the WCHA than MJ. Yes MJ has a greater number of "good" players, but it is spread out further and is much younger on average than the WCHA. Have no idea who the Spirit have as coaches, but I'll bet Eaves and Osieki would be Colorado's choice of who they would want developing a Dman for them (in an ideal situation which not play right off the bat your freshman year may not be ideal). In the end a good player will make it to the NHl either way if that is their destiny, so good luck to the kid.

Anonymous said...

You "Have no idea who the Spirit have as coaches, but I'll bet Eaves and Osieki would be Colorado's choice of who they would want developing a Dman for them". If you think that the Avs didn't have something to do with this, you're being pretty naive. These guys, especially players already drafted, are talking to reps from teams in the NHL a couple of times a week, at the very least.

If Colorado would have wanted him to stay at Wisconsin because of the coaching he would be receiving from Coach Eaves and Coach Osiecki, they would have left him there, and it would have cost them nothing.

Anonymous said...

from the Midland (Michigan) Daily News....."Playing just his second game in a Saginaw Spirit uniform, Williams scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner in overtime, as the Spirit upended the Sarnia Sting 4-3 in Ontario Hockey League play at the Dow Event Center." I saw the game Saturday and he looks to like a
force to be reckoned with.

The Spirit are in 1st place in the OHL and picked to win it all and also vie for the Memorial Cup.

Bob Mancini is the head coach and general manager of the Saginaw Spirit hockey club of the Ontario Hockey League. He also has coached in the NCAA ranks at Michigan Tech and Ferris State University. .....and a former NHL scout to boot. I think he's
in good hands. The Badger' lost is the Spirit's gain