San Jose Sharks sign veteran defenceman Sandis Ozolinsh

SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Sharks signed defenceman Sandis Ozolinsh on Friday, adding the seven-time all-star to their roster after an extended tryout.

Ozolinsh, who fought injuries while scoring just three points in 21 games for the New York Rangers last season, spent the past six weeks proving his skills in the Sharks’ organization, including a short stint with their AHL affiliate in Worcester. His deal is worth US$625,000.

Ozolinsh was expected to be in the Sharks’ lineup Friday night against the Los Angeles Kings – just over 12 years after San Jose traded him to Colorado for Owen Nolan.

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“He has worked very hard, and we look forward to him helping this hockey club moving forward,” Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said.

The 35-year-old Latvian spent his first 3½ NHL seasons with the Sharks, setting the franchise’s single-season record for defencemen with 64 points during the 1993-94 campaign. He has 164 goals and 384 assists in his NHL career with San Jose, Colorado, Carolina, Florida, Anaheim and the Rangers.

Ozolinsh entered the NHL’s substance-abuse treatment program in December 2005. A few days after the 2006 season ended, he was arrested on a drunken driving charge that was later reduced to driving while impaired.