NHL's Sharks sign NCAA's top defenseman Carle

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."