The San Jose Sharks have signed Kamloops Blazers forward Rudolfs Balcers to an entry-level contract.
The team announced the signing on Thursday afternoon.
“Rudolfs is a natural goal-scorer who has proven that he can find the back of the net when his team needs it most,” said Sharks Assistant General Manager Joe Will. “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 20-year-old winger notched 77 points (40G, 37A) in 66 games with the Blazers in his first WHL season. He went on to add another two goals and an assist in six playoff games.
Balcers lead all WHL rookies in goals and finished 4th in assists and 3rd in points.
The Liepaja, Latvia product was drafted by the Blazers in the first round, 43rd overall in the 2016 CHL Import Draft.
Before joining the Blazers, Balcers spent time with the Stavanger Oilers of the Norwegian League. In 79 games, from 2014 to 2016, he registered 23 goals, 22 assists, and a plus-38 ranking. He helped the Oilers win the Championship in both of those seasons (2014-15, 2015-16).
In addition, Balcers helped his native Latvia win gold medals at the D1A World Junior Championships in 2013-14 (U18) and 2015-16 (U20).
The five-foot-eleven, 165-pound sniper was selected by San Jose in the fifth round (142nd overall) of the 2015 NHL Draft.