SAN JOSE – San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) General Manager Doug Wilson announced today that the club has signed free agent forward Matt Nieto to a two-year contract.
“Matt brings a consistent, veteran presence to our line-up, and his speed and defensive awareness have made him a valuable part of our penalty killing unit,” said Wilson. “Additionally, his ability to chip in offensively gives our coaching staff a versatile option in crafting our line-up from night to night.”
Nieto, 28, registered seven points (two goals, five assists) in 28 games with the Sharks in 2020-21. He appeared in his 500th career NHL game on Mar. 19 vs. St. Louis to become the third California-born player to reach the milestone at the time, and trails only Brooks Orpik (1,053), Jason Zucker (509) and Lee Norwood (503) in games played among California natives. He also became the first set of teammates (Sasha Chmelevski) to hail from CA and play in the same game for San Jose. Chmelevski registered an assist on his goal in Anaheim on Feb. 5. Before his season was derailed due to injury, Nieto ranked third among Sharks skaters in penalty kill time on ice (TOI), with 77:49 minutes and averaged 2:47 minutes per game on the kill.
In 500 career NHL games with San Jose and Colorado, Nieto has registered 158 points (67 goals, 91 assists) and 86 penalty minutes. In 55 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, Nieto has posted 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) and a plus-16 rating, including appearing in 16 games during San Jose’s 2016 Stanley Cup Final appearance.
Prior to his professional career, Nieto played collegiately at Boston University, where he totaled 102 points (44 goals, 58 assists) in 115 career games. He played for the U.S. National Team Development Program from 2008-10, winning back-to-back gold medals with Team USA at the 2009 and 2010 IIHF Under-18 World Championship.
The five-foot-eleven, 185-pound native of Long Beach, CA, was originally selected by San Jose in the 2011 NHL Draft (second round, 47th overall) and was the first California-born player selected by the Sharks in the NHL Draft in franchise history.