Jack LaFontaine signed with Carolina



Ignatius L Hoops

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The Hurricanes this summer negotiated with LaFontaine, who chose to return to Minnesota for a fifth season that was available because of the NCAA's COVID-19 waiver. Carolina has dealt with several injuries at goalie throughout its organization, and LaFontaine, a 2016 third-round draft pick, will help fill in behind Frederick Andersen and Antti Raanta, who was a late scratch for the Hurricanes on Saturday. Goalies Eetu Makeniemi and Beck Warm of the Chicago Wolves, Carolina's AHL affiliate, also are injured.

LaFontaine will earn $750,000 at the NHL level and $70,000 at the AHL level, plus an $88,500 signing bonus.
 

MRJ

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Always nice when a team captain and "leader" bails midseason. But with the way these kids perform on a regular basis, I'd guess this kind of thing is par for the course.
 

DarthGopher

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The NHL is one of the few major professional sports where this kind of thing is commonplace, let alone allowed.

College hockey national championships will become more about surviving attrition than they will be about the most skilled teams winning.

Carolina is in desperation mode right now. He is most likely a short-term stop-gap. There is the potential he'll make a big splash and his professional career will take off. The reality is probably closer to once those other goaltenders get healthy again, he'll muddle around in the AHL for $70K a year. An $88,500 signing bonus seems a bit light for the situation the Hurricanes are in.
 


TNGophfan

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The NHL is one of the few major professional sports where this kind of thing is commonplace, let alone allowed.

College hockey national championships will become more about surviving attrition than they will be about the most skilled teams winning.

Carolina is in desperation mode right now. He is most likely a short-term stop-gap. There is the potential he'll make a big splash and his professional career will take off. The reality is probably closer to once those other goaltenders get healthy again, he'll muddle around in the AHL for $70K a year. An $88,500 signing bonus seems a bit light for the situation the Hurricanes are in.
I know a lot of players leave early after the season is over to go pro but I don't recall many leaving mid-year. Am I wrong on that? Maybe I just don't notice. Any other examples of kids leaving mid-year?
 



DarthGopher

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Okposo is the only other example I can think of. I get guys leaving school early after the season, but leaving mid-season really leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
100% agree. Especially a captain.
 
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Ope3

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I wonder if looking around at all the empty seats both at Mariucci and on the road, LaFontaine just said "What the heck am I doing here?"

Age 24. 5th year. Another semester of school about to start. Timing not great for the Gophers, but mehh.
 

DarthGopher

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I wonder if looking around at all the empty seats both at Mariucci and on the road, LaFontaine just said "What the heck am I doing here?"

Age 24. 5th year. Another semester of school about to start. Timing not great for the Gophers, but mehh.
I get it. Plus Carolina is pretty darn good this year, so it is a terrific opportunity. Hopefully the coaching staff has been developing goalies behind him that are ready to go. We'll soon find out.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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I wonder if looking around at all the empty seats both at Mariucci and on the road, LaFontaine just said "What the heck am I doing here?"

Age 24. 5th year. Another semester of school about to start. Timing not great for the Gophers, but mehh.
If he had a "What the heck am I doing here?" moment, it was probably this weekend at Michigan State when he was lying spread eagled on his back, thirty feet from the goal, with his helmet knocked off after being flattened in a collision with a Spartan chasing an errant puck.
 




TNGophfan

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Reed Larson-it's not a recent phenomenon.
Wow, forgot that one. Good memory. My point, though, is it really is pretty uncommon. Darth's comment had me wondering if this was happening all the time, and it seems fairly rare.

Agree, it sucks for the team but I don't think Carolina would poison its relationship with the colleges if this weren't an extreme situation for them.
 

Ope3

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Reed Larson-it's not a recent phenomenon.
Larson's situation was even more unique. He was serving a suspension for an altercation with a ref.

Herb Brooks must not have taken the decision to bolt personally, as Larson was on staff for his hockey camps that I attended in Brainerd, circa '80-'82.
 
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Bob_Loblaw

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The NHL teams really put the college players in a tough spot. Typically, it takes so long to break in to the NHL at goalie, I don't know if Lafontaine would ever have a better chance to play in the NHL.

There are a number of other players that have done this. There was a guy from Boston University last year, I think Charlie Coyle also left Boston University midseason.
 

DanvilleGopher

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I think this was kind of a perfect storm for him to make this decision to leave now. He wasn't having a sterling season and Carolina is absolutely in a pickle and needed someone to step in and I do think he's a good goalie just wasn't on his game YET this year, which could have improved here but why not take the next step when you have a 'golden' opportunity such as this! This is what he's working to do and presented with this incredible opportunity, I think we'd all do the same thing in our professions!

Good Luck Jack!!!
 

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Kyle Okposo was almost 15 years ago so this is very rare. Good luck to JLF. What a great opportunity for the two guys that weren't playing.
 

bonin21

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He was not signed on merit (or "developmental concerns") like Okposo. He was signed because Carolina needed a body. That's it. You can't blame him, but Carolina looks bad in this.

If the Gophers don't make the tournament it will go down as the most disappointing Gopher team in at least 20 years.
 

GopherPete

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Seems out of character for him, but maybe I confused charisma for character.
 

Gophers1992

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Lafontaine will not make a lot of money playing pro hockey, so it's probably wise to strike while the iron is hot. That said, I will not be rooting for him or the Hurricanes this year. Wonder if we can alter the record books so he never goes down in history as a captain of this program.
 

bleedsmaroonandgold

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It's tough for me to be too hard on him for this. There are players skipping bowl games that don't conflict with any pro football opportunities just to avoid the remote possibility of getting hurt. Here, he has been offered an actual contract with real money to start playing now. Chance might never come around again.
 

Gophers1992

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It's tough for me to be too hard on him for this. There are players skipping bowl games that don't conflict with any pro football opportunities just to avoid the remote possibility of getting hurt. Here, he has been offered an actual contract with real money to start playing now. Chance might never come around again.
I totally get why he did it. I won't crucify him for it, but it's fair that he's getting some criticism.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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"The main piece to our season was to win a national championship. And for us as a team, we're going to be losing a lot of guys to the Olympics, and now I'm leaving," LaFontaine said. "… We have a lot of good players in that room that are going to get opportunities, and I know everyone's going to be ready."

LaFontaine said his backup, Justen Close, was actually the first teammate he told about his decision, to make sure he knew first how his role on the team was going to change. He also had a good moment with fellow captains Sammy Walker and Ben Meyers, who both supported his choice. He also gave new Gophers goaltending coach Brennan Poderzay a big hug when he told his coach the news, crediting him with really upping his mental and physical game this year.

Relinquishing that loyalty was not something LaFontaine took lightly
 


TruthSeeker

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JLF wasn't having a great year anyway. Let the guy go make some money. One of our other guys can replicate what JLF has put up so far.
 

MUgopher32

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Man some people are salty.

Does it suck? Yes.

But the kid has a chance to start his professional career and dream right now.

It’s a wide open opportunity for him to get right into the league and showcase himself. Would love to have him stay, but staying would be the suboptimal move for a guy trying to make money and build a life.
 

Gophers1992

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JLF wasn't having a great year anyway. Let the guy go make some money. One of our other guys can replicate what JLF has put up so far.
I am as disappointed in the season he's having as anyone, but what makes you say one of the other guys can replicate it? I suspect there's a reason Lafontaine was never benched.
 

TruthSeeker

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I am as disappointed in the season he's having as anyone, but what makes you say one of the other guys can replicate it? I suspect there's a reason Lafontaine was never benched.
Well, if they can't, then our defense isn't good enough to take us to glory anyway.
 

Gophers1992

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Well, if they can't, then our defense isn't good enough to take us to glory anyway.
The defense has definitely been the other most disappointing part of the team this year. Lacombe has regressed, Brinkman has regressed, Johnson is up and down.
 




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