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Earl Leaves; Goepfert Next?

More news of the "Lincoln Shot" variety today. Robbie Earl signed a pro contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Wisconsin Hockey Blog was on top of things yesterday when he said there was a 90% chance of Earl leaving. The good news for Badger fans is that it seems likely that Earl will be the only early departure this season.

The St. Cloud Times had a very interesting article about Goepfert's future at St. Cloud. By now most people are familiar with the rule that college players have to be signed by the summer after their freshmen class graduates. But because Goepfert sat out a year while transferring to St. Cloud, his class will be graduating this year. That means that Pittsburgh has to either sign Goepfert this summer, or lose him to free agency.

The Penguins could afford to lose Goepfert to free agency. They've already committed to Marc-Andre Fleury has their goalie of the future, and feel like they've got another quality young goalie in the system with Andy Chiodo. They also got Notre Dame goalie David Brown in their system. They've got a lot of quality, but not much in terms of depth.

If the Penguins do decide to let Goepfert become a free agent, that means any other team could sign Goepfert this summer. I think Goepfert has the opportunity to be an NHL goalie some day if he finds the right team.

Goepfert seems resolute in staying for his senior season at St. Cloud, but this seems like the type of situation that always ends with the player saying "I got an offer that I couldn't pass up" over his shoulder as he leaves town.