Though San Jose Sharks defenseman Matt Carle of Anchorage has struggled like his team in the early going this NHL season, his club showed its faith in him Wednesday by signing the 23-year-old to a four-year contact extension worth $13.75 million.
Carle, who analyzed his season thus far as "more downs than ups,'' said he was happy to have the deal done.
"It’s good to know that (contract negotiations are) done, and put it behind me and be able to focus on hockey,’’ Carle said.
Carle makes $942,000 this season, the final one under his entry-level contract. He will make $2.95 million next season, $3.5 million in each of the two seasons after that, and $3.8 million in 2011-12.
Carle last season was an All-Rookie selection. He was a healthy scratch for three games recently, but went +3 in his first game back.
Carle signed with San Jose in the spring of 2006, jumping immediately from the University of Denver -- he won two national titles with the Pioneers and won the 2006 Hobey Baker Memorial Award as college hockey's best player. He scored a goal in his first NHL game.
Before his extension, Carle already was the second-highest paid Alaskan in the NHL. The top dog is center Scott Gomez of the New York Rangers, who last summer signed a seven-year, $51.5 million deal. Gomez, 27, of Anchorage, makes $10 million this season, which ties him for the highest salary in the league.