The Tulsa Oilers have announced their second returning player of the summer as Devin Williams has re-signed for a fourth campaign between the pipes in Green Country. Williams joins longtime teammate Charlie Sampair as confirmed returnees in Tulsa. Sampair will also be entering his fourth season with the Oilers hockey club.
“I’m very happy to announce the return of one of our fan favourites,” Tulsa head coach Rob Murray said in a statement released through the team. “Devin brings a consistent game every night, giving us a chance to win any game. As an ECHL-contracted player, I don’t think there are many players —if any — that are better than him.”
Williams was 17-12-2 this past season, finishing the shortened season with a .905 save percentage and a 2.72 goals against average. He now boasts a career record of 52-32-11 with a .914 save percentage and 2.46 GAA and has finished 15-or-more wins and a goals against of 2.72 or lower in each of his three previous seasons with Tulsa. His best season came in 2018-19 as he led the Oilers to a Mountain Division crown with a record of 20-9-4 and an ECHL-leading 2.12 goals against average (.916 SV%). He then posted a record of 10-7 in the 2019 postseason as Tulsa fell one win shy of a Western Conference Title and a trip to the Kelly Cup Final.
The 24-year-old native of Saginaw played his junior tenure for the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League where he played alongside future NHL’ers such as Connor McDavid, Dylan Strome and Oscar Dansk. Other notable names include Connor Brown, Alex DeBrincat and Andre Burakovsky. Williams played in 175 contests over parts of five seasons for Erie, posting career stats of a 3.03 GAA, a .900 save percentage and a staggering 106-47-8 record. He also won 28 times in 45 postseason outings for the Otters. He then played one season for Acadia University before signing with Tulsa for the 2017-18 season.
Tulsa will look to Williams to once again hold down the fort as the starting goalie, but also to continue the development of 21-year-old Anaheim prospect Olle Eriksson Ek. Eriksson Ek began the season splitting backup time with St. Louis Blues prospect Evan Fitzpatrick, but began to improve rapidly when Fitzpatrick was moved by the Blues to Brampton. Tulsa began to climb the standings as Eriksson Ek found a groove guarding the cage behind Williams and the squad became tough to score on, regardless of the starter that night. With Tulsa dropping the dual affiliation with Anaheim and St. Louis and signing a three-year agreement with Anaheim alone, Tulsa can start the season with a consistent and familiar pair patrolling the paint.
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