Williams has high hopes

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:51 AM ET

PHILADELPHIA -- Jeremy Williams was all shaken up but he will have a few more days to calm his nerves.

The Maple Leafs summoned Williams from the Toronto Marlies on Friday afternoon but Leafs coach Paul Maurice opted to not use him last night against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Williams likely will suit up tomorrow night in Montreal against the Canadiens, and/or at home on Tuesday versus the Buffalo Sabres.

"When I got the call, I was almost more nervous than I was last year," Williams said. "It's a whole new thing. It's almost like I am starting over again. I'm not scared, it's more of an excitement thing. It's such a jump."

Williams made his National Hockey League debut in the Leafs' last game in 2005-06 and scored a goal. He has been injured for much of this season. But there is no doubt what the Leafs expect from him when he does get in. Based on talent, Maurice thinks it's possible Williams could be a regular next season. But at 5-foot-11, 184 pounds, Williams has to bulk up.

"He may play here next year on a regular basis based on his speed, but physically his tank is still being developed," Maurice said. "He has big speed and a big shot, and some versatility. He is so eager, such a good-hearted guy."

Williams, 23, also has become the Leafs' best prospect from the six players the organization picked in 2003 in Nashville. A former member of the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League, Williams, chosen 220th overall, had more than 40 goals in two of his three junior seasons and has been coming along in the minors.

At the other end of the 2003 draft spectrum is defenceman John Doherty. He was the Leafs' first pick, 57th overall. Since being selected, he has bounced around and presently is with the Port Huron Flags of the United Hockey League.


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