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.


Thu 03/23/06, 4:34 am EST



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