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Sharks sign forward Dylan Gambrell to entry-level contract

No O’Regan? No problem. The Sharks have signed a new NCAA center.

Apr 8, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Denver Pioneers forward Dylan Gambrell (7) and defenseman Adam Plant (28) defend the goal during the third period of the championship game of the 2017 Frozen Four against the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs at United Center. Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

The Sharks have signed center Dylan Gambrell to a standard entry-level contract. The 21-year-old was drafted by the Sharks 60th overall, in the second round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.

When drafted, Gambrell was coming off an impressive rookie season with the University of Denver Pioneers, where he ranked second among all NCHC freshmen in goals (17), assists (30), points (47), and shots (107), in addition to being named to the NCAA All-Rookie team. Since then, Gambrell has maintained being an above point-per-game player in his sophomore and junior seasons with the Pioneers, earning a place on the NCAA Second All-Star Team both years.

This past season, Gambrell was a Hobey Baker Award nominee, a finalist for NCHC Three Stars Award, and was selected as the Bauer NCHC Offensive Player of the Week for the week of January 8, 2018.

He also comes to the Sharks with championship experience, leading the Pioneers to the 2017 NCAA championship title. In seven tournament games, Gambrell tied for second on the Pioneers in points (seven), fourth in assists (five), and shots (18). He also tied for fourth in goals with two. The Washington native was also part of the Dubuque Fight Saints of the USHL Clark Cup Championship winning team in 2012-13.

According to the University of Denver Athletics, Gambrell’s favorite hockey player is Pavel Datsyuk because he “makes a difference every time he hits the ice.”

“Dylan is one of the top college players in the country, who has proven through his many accomplishments that he can compete at the highest level,” said Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson. “We believe his speed, combined with his high-end hockey IQ, make him ready to be an NHL player. We are confident that, with his skill-set, he will make an impact with our team.”