Gophers' sophomore defenseman Sam Lofquist has decided to forgo the remainder of his University of Minnesota career to play in the Ontario Hockey League.
Lofquist, who had played in 3 games this season, has withdrawn from his classes at the U.
The sophomore's departure leaves the Gophers with only six healthy defensemen. Minnesota will now be playing Kevin Wehrs and Brian Schack on a regular basis until freshman defenseman Nick Leddy has recovered from a broken jaw that he sustained in the game against Alaska-Anchorage a couple weeks ago.
Wehrs and Schack were the Gophers' 7th and 8th options on defense coming into the season, with defensemen Cade Fairchild, Aaron Ness, David Fischer, Nick Leddy, Seth Helgeson and Lofquist ahead of them on the depth chart. Although both Wehrs and Schack have looked surprisingly good this year in the limited time we've seen them on the ice, each makes their share of mistakes and will need to play attentive defense to be a compliment to this team as a whole.
One thing to watch for is the roster for the United States' World Junior team to be released. The Gophers seemingly always have two or three players gone for four to six games in the middle of the season due to their being selected to participate on the World Junior team. I would guess that Aaron Ness would be selected to play on the team and, if that were to be the case, the Gophers would only have five healthy defensemen on the roster while Ness was absent. The team might need to look at moving a forward back to the point in order to field the customary 12 forward, 6 defenseman lineup.