The San Jose Sharks signed 2015 fifth round pick Rudolfs Balcers to a three-year, entry-level contract, the team announced today.
Balcers scored 77 points (40 goals, 37 assists) in 66 games with the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers in his first season playing in North America. That was good for 29th among all WHL players, and his goal-scoring tally was 11th in the league. The 20-year-old also represented his native Latvia at least year’s U-20 World Junior Championships. Before joining Kamloops, Balcers scored 46 points in 81 games over two seasons in Norway’s top division, as an 18-and-19-year-old.
"Rudolfs is a natural goal-scorer who has proven that he can find the back of the net when his team needs it most," Sharks Assistant General Manager Joe Will said in a statement. "His first season in North America showed he could keep up with a more physical game, while still being one of the more dynamic snipers in the league. We're excited to see him continue his development with our organization."
The forward will have options next season. Balcers is eligible to play with the Barracuda in the AHL next season, and to return to junior. With a number of young players in the mix for roster spots with the Sharks, the forward could have a fairly clear path to the Barracuda, who could certainly use his goal-scoring.