NHL's Sharks sign NCAA's top defenseman Carle

Updated: March 21, 2006, 11:24 PM ET
Associated Press

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The San Jose Sharks signed defenseman Matt Carle to an entry-level contract on Sunday, clearing the way for the pro debut of the NCAA's top defenseman.

Carle, the Sharks' second-round draft pick in 2003, was chosen as the WCHA's player of the year this season as a junior at Denver University. He led Division I defensemen with 11 goals and 42 assists, and is a finalist for the Hobey Baker award, presented to college hockey's top player.

Carle won NCAA titles in his first two seasons at Denver.

In a news release, the university said Carle was expected to play Tuesday at St. Louis.

"I think he's more ready to play in the NHL than any other college player at this point," Denver head coach George Gwozdecky said. "He's the best defenseman I have ever coached and a terrific young man. We wish him well at the next level."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press