Latvian hockey fans could soon have another NHLer to cheer for.
The San Jose Sharks announced Monday the signing of free agent Nikita Jevpalovs to an entry-level contract.
Jevpalovs, a native of Riga, Latvia has 38 goals and 71 points in 45 games with Blainville-Boisbriand of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
“Nikita is a big-bodied forward who has a good combination of size and scoring ability,” said Sharks general manager Doug Wilson. “He has represented his country numerous times and impressed against some of the world’s top young talent and we’re excited to add a young forward with his skill set to our organization.”
The 6-foot-1, 210-pound forward has 84 goals and 164 points in 166 career QMJHL games.
Jevpalovs has represented Latvia internationally on several occasions. He won silver at the 2014 Division I world junior championship, played in two U-20 world junior hockey championships (2013, 2012) and the 2012 U-18 world championship.
Fellow Latvian, Zemgus Girgensons, won the All-Star fan voting this month as his home country stuffed the ballot box. Girgensons led all vote-getters with 1,574,896 votes.