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Sharks Sign Defenseman Matt Carle to a Four-Year Contract Extension

by San Jose Sharks Staff / San Jose Sharks
San Jose Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson announced today that the team has signed defenseman Matt Carle to a four-year contract extension.

Carle, 23, has posted 6 points (one goal, five assists) in 18 games to begin this season, which is third-best among team defensemen. The second-year defenseman is part of a Sharks team that is currently ranked third in the League in goals against average (2.06) and second in penalty killing at 90.6%.

“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. “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. I’m pleased that San Jose will be my home for the next four years.”

Carle posted 42 points (11-31=42) and eight power play goals (a Sharks defensive record) in 77 regular season games in 2006-07, his rookie season. By doing so, he joined Dion Phaneuf (2005-06) as the only rookie defensemen with 40-plus points in one season since 1993-94 and the only rookie defensemen with 8-plus power play goal in their first season since 1991-92. At the conclusion of the season, he was named to the NHL All-Rookie Team along with teammate Marc-Edouard Vlasic. The duo joined Detroit’s Niklas Lidstrom and Vladimir Konstantinov (1991-92) as the only pair of defensive teammates in NHL history to be named to the squad in the same season.

“With the nature of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, it’s extremely important to not only know your players, but to have the ability to make educated decisions about their future,” said Wilson. “In this case, Matt is a player that we know well. 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 deal will take Carle up to the age of 27 when he could become an unrestricted free agent.

“Good for him,” said veteran Craig Rivet, who signed his own four-year deal this summer.

Carle signed with the Sharks on March 19, 2006 following his junior season at the University of Denver and played in the team’s final 12 regular season games producing three goals and three assists. He became just the 10th Shark to score a goal in his NHL debut on March 25 at Minnesota. The blueliner also went on to post three assists in 11 playoff contests.

The native of Anchorage, Alaska was a standout college player with the University of Denver, where he captured the 2006 Hobey Baker Award and was named WCHA Player of the Year, WCHA Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All WCHA the same season.

In addition, he won two National NCAA Titles with Denver (2004, 2003) and became the first U.S.-born player to capture a NCAA Championship and a World Junior Championship (2004) in the same season.

Carle was originally selected by the Sharks in the second round (47th overall) in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

The Sharks are closing in on full health as they approach Saturday’s game against the Kings.

“Cheechoo has a sore groin,” said Wilson. “I expect him to be on the ice Friday. Milan (Michalek) is good to go.”

Wilson noted the Craig Rivet is getting closer and that Marcel Goc may be the only hold up.

“Rivet is 50/50,” said Wilson. “Marcel certainly won’t be ready for Saturday.”

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