San Jose added to their defensive possibilities Sunday when they signed prospect Matt Carle to his first NHL contract. Carle will not dress against the Colorado Avalanche Sunday afternoon, but it will be a decision by Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson when Carle plays his first NHL game. The rookie blueliner will wear number 25 when that occurs.
Carle, recently completed his junior season with Denver University where he was named WCHA Player of the Year, WCHA Defensive Player of the Year and First-Team All WCHA. Carle became the first player in WCHA history to garner both the Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year Awards in the same season and is a finalist for the Hobey Baker Trophy, presented to college hockey’s top player.
Named Denver’s team captain, Carle is tied for fifth among all NCAA scorers with 53 points (11 goals, 41 assists) in 39 games and first in assists. Overall, he led all NCAA defensemen in goals (11), assists (42), points (53) and is second in points per game (1.36). Carle ranks first in the NCAA in assists per game (1.08) and is tied for 10th in points per game (1.36).
“We are excited about Matt joining the San Jose Sharks,” said Wilson. “His accomplishments over the past several years speak for themselves. He has made tremendous progress in the last few seasons and that is a testament to the program at DU and guidance and leadership provided by Head Coach George Gwozdecky and his staff. We are looking forward to taking his development to the next level”
Carle ranked tied for third in WCHA overall scoring and led all WCHA defensemen in points, goals and assists in league play. Carle set DU's single-season assist record for defensemen at 42 and his 53 points rank second on DU's single-season points list for defensemen. He was named WCHA Defensive Player of the Week on Dec. 5, Dec. 19 and Feb. 13.
In addition, he was named to the All-WCHA All-Academic Team.
In 2004, Carle became the first U.S.-born player to capture the World Junior and NCAA titles in the same season. The following season, he helped lead Denver to a repeat NCAA title.
Also in 2004-05, he led all WCHA defensemen in scoring with 39 points (12 goals, 27 assists) in 39 games and was eighth among all WCHA scorers. Carle was named a NCAA Defenseman of the Year, NCAA All-American Team (West), First All-WCHA Team, USCHO First Team All American and First Team All American by InsideCollegeHockey.com.
In 2003-04, he was named to the All-WCHA Rookie Team after finishing sixth among WCHA defensemen with 25 points (five goals, 20 assists) in 30 games.
The six-foot, 190-pound native of Anchorage, Alaska was selected by the Sharks in the second round (47th overall) in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.