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Avalanche Signs Williams, Fritsche

by Staff Writer / Colorado Avalanche
The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that it has signed forward Tom Fritsche and defenseman Nigel Williams each to an entry-level contract.

Williams, 20, helped the Ontario Hockey League’s Belleville Bulls reach the Memorial Cup this past year after joining the team at midseason from Saginaw.  He finished tied for fifth among league defensemen in goals with 15, while tallying 46 points in 67 combined games between the two clubs. The 6-foot-4, 226-pound native of Aurora, Illinois also racked up 100 minutes in penalties. He went on to finish second among OHL defensemen in playoff scoring with 18 points (7g/11a) in 21 postseason contests.

“Nigel finished the year strong, helping his team get to the Memorial Cup,” said Avalanche Vice President of Hockey Operations Craig Billington. “He participated in our development camp last month, and after two solid seasons at the junior level, we feel he is ready to take that next step in his development.”

Williams was Colorado’s second-round pick (51st overall) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.

Fritsche (pronounced Fritt-chee) was also a second-round choice of the Avalanche, selected 47th overall in the 2005 Entry Draft.  The 21-year old just completed his senior season at Ohio State University (CCHA) in 2007-08, recording 19 points (5g/14a) in 39 games with the Buckeyes.  The Parma, Ohio native finished his four-year collegiate career with 107 points (32g/75a) in 137 games.  He joined Colorado’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Lake Erie Monsters, at the conclusion of his senior season, tallying five points (2g/3a) in 15 games with the Monsters.

“Tom got some pro experience at the end of last season,” said Billington.  “We look forward to him continuing his development within our organization.”

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