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Sharks Sign Free Agent Defenseman Blake

by San Jose Sharks Staff / San Jose Sharks
SAN JOSE, Calif. – San Jose Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson announced today that the team has signed Group III unrestricted free agent defenseman Rob Blake to a one-year contract. In keeping with club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Blake, 38, is tied for fourth among active NHL defensemen (T-22nd in NHL history) with 702 points (223-479=702) and first among active defensemen in goals (223, 14th in NHL history) in 1,127 career NHL regular season games with Los Angeles and Colorado.
He just finished his 18th career season in 2007-08, recording 31 points (9-22=31) in 71 games with Los Angeles. He posted five power play goals and accumulated 98 penalty minutes.

“Rob is a tremendous competitor that has been one of the top defensemen in this League for many years,” said Wilson. “While he has enjoyed mentoring the young guys, great players need the ability to win in order to thrive and his sole purpose here is to focus on winning.”

The native of Simcoe, Ontario has appeared in the postseason 11 times during his career and was part of the Stanley Cup winning 2001 Colorado Avalanche team. He has appeared in 125 career NHL postseason games registering 67 points (24-43=67), 152 penalty minutes and a +5 plus/minus rating.

“Rob’s skill set and intangibles speak for themselves,” said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan. “I coached Nicklas Lidstrom for the last three years and Rob is the same age as him. Rob, like Nicklas, has proven to be a leader on a championship-winning team and any coach would be lucky to have a player of his caliber.”

Blake’s decorated career includes being named to the 1991 NHL All-Rookie Team, a Norris Trophy in 1998, NHL First All-Star Team honors in 1998, NHL Second All-Star Team honors in 2000, 2001 and 2002 and seven All-Star appearances (1994, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004).

“I’ve gotten to play with Rob at several international tournaments and we’ve built a friendship over the years,” said Sharks center Joe Thornton. “He’ll fit right into our group and more importantly will help us win. He is extremely talented and can play, and excel, in every situation.”

Internationally, Blake has represented Canada in nine competitions including the Olympic Games (1998, 2002, 2006), the World Championships (1991, 1994, 1997, 1998, 1999) and the World Cup of Hockey (1996 – did not play in 2004 due to injury but was on roster).

Blake played his collegiate hockey at Bowling Green State University from 1987-1990 posting 104 points (39-65=104) in 131 games. He was a Hobey Baker Award finalist and an NCAA West First Team All-American in 1990.

The six-foot-four, 225-pound defenseman was originally selected by Los Angeles in the fourth round (70th overall) of the 1988 NHL Entry Draft. He was acquired by Colorado along with Steven Reinprecht in exchange for Adam Deadmarsh, Aaron Miller, a player-to-be-named-later (Jared Aulin), Colorado’s first round pick in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft (David Steckel) and Colorado’s first round pick in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft (Brian Boyle on Feb. 21, 2001). After playing in Colorado through the 2005-06 season, he signed with Los Angeles as a free agent on July 1, 2006.

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