SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -Defenseman Matt Carle agreed to a four-year, $13.75 million contract extension Wednesday with the San Jose Sharks, who locked up another key young player with a lengthy deal.
Carle, who won the Hobey Baker award as the NCAA's top player at Denver in 2006, has been a regular on San Jose's blue line since signing a pro contract late in the 2005-06 season. He scored 42 points in 77 games last season, making the NHL's all-rookie team along with fellow Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic.
"When you look at the number of players that have committed to this organization over the last few years - guys like Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, Jonathan Cheechoo, Evgeni Nabokov, Craig Rivet, Milan Michalek - it's easy to want to be here," said Carle, who would have been a restricted free agent after the season.
"The front office has proven that they are serious about winning multiple Stanley Cups, and that's something I want to be a part of," Carle said.
Carle has just one goal and five assists in 18 games this season, playing through a three-game benching earlier this month. But he's a key part of the Sharks' defensive core along with Vlasic, Christian Ehrhoff and veterans Rivet and Kyle McLaren.
Doug Wilson has been among the NHL's most aggressive general managers in locking up his young talent with long-term contracts - a necessity under the collective bargaining agreement, he claims.
"In this case, Matt is a player that we know well," Wilson said. "He has four rounds of NHL playoff experience and has played in, and won, two collegiate national championships. He has a great mentality, the drive to win, and is on his way to becoming a dynamic player in this league. We love having him as one of our core players in the years to come."
The Pacific Division-leading Sharks are in the middle of a weeklong break before Saturday's home game against Los Angeles.