“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 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.”
Balcers, 20, spent last season with the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League, recording 77 points (40 goals, 37 assists) in 66 games. Amongst all WHL rookies, Balcers ranked 1st in goals, 4th in assists, 3rd in points, and 1st in game-winning goals (7). On the Blazers, he finished 1st in goals, 3rd in assists, 2nd in points, tied for 1st in plus/minus (plus-26), and tied for 2nd in game-winning goals.
Before joining the WHL, 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 native of Liepaja, Latvia was selected by San Jose in the fifth round (142nd overall) of the 2015 NHL Draft.