Do you guys think The Leafs will sign Earl in the offseason and let him play in the AHL next year?
I can't see it. I don't really think he's proven enough to get much of a crack at an AHL roster spot at this point in time, and beyond that I don't feel he's developed so far since his draft that he has nothing left to learn in the NCAA.
Everything I've heard indicates he'll almost assuredly play at least 3 years of Wisconsin, whether he'll stay for a 4'th year I don't know.
Beyond that I really don't see any reason for the Leafs to rush into signing him. They've got plenty of time before they lose his rights, and it's not like he's any NHL threat in the short term barring an unbelievable rookie camp.
Besids, the sooner the Leafs sign him to a contract the sooner he becomes eligible for waivers and ideally we'd neaturally desire to push that as far back as realistically possible.
I'd vote for another year of NCAA, and beyond that see how he's developed, what kind of numbers he's putting up in the NCAA and how he feels about continuing on for another year or turning Pro and tryng to make the jump to the AHL.