Habs keep Bulldogs Urquhart, Biron in the fold

Hamilton Bulldogs Mathieu Biron and Cory Urquhart have been re-signed to one-year contracts by the parent National Hockey League Montreal Canadiens.

Biron, a 27-year-old defenceman, was acquired by Montreal last Dec. 15 from the NHL’s San Jose Sharks in exchange for defenceman Patrick Traverse. In 77 games last season with the American Hockey League’s Worcester Sharks and Bulldogs, the 6-foot-6, 230-pound defenceman posted 39 points (10-29-39) and 94 penalty minutes. Biron also chipped in eight points (2-6-8) and 33 penalty minutes in 22 playoff games as Hamilton skated to the 2007 Calder Cup Championship.

A native of Lac St-Charles, Quebec, Biron has played six full seasons in the National Hockey League with the New York Islanders (1999 to 2001), the Tampa Bay Lightning (2001-02), the Florida Panthers (2002-04) and the Washington Capitals (2005-06). In 253 career NHL regular season games, the first-round pick (21st overall) of the Los Angeles Kings in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft has registered 44 points (12-32-44) and 177 penalty minutes.

Urquhart, 22, split the 2006-07 season with the Hamilton Bulldogs and the East Coast Hockey League’s Cincinnati Cyclones. The native of Halifax, Nova Scotia registered 17 points (5-12-17) and 12 penalty minutes in 30 regular season games, and collected four points (2-2-4) in 18 playoff games with Hamilton.

In 43 games with Cincinnati, the 6-foot-3, 200-pound forward scored 22 goals and added 18 assists with 47 penalty minutes.

Urquhart was drafted by Montreal in the second round, 40th overall, in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

The Canadiens also signed free agent defencemen Jamie Rivers and Marvin Degon to one-year contracts and there a good chance both could be in the Bulldogs lineup for the 2007-08 AHL season.

Rivers, 32, split the 2006-07 season with the National Hockey League’s St. Louis Blues and the AHL’s Peoria Rivermen. The 6-foot, 190-pound blueliner registered four points (1-3-4) and 36 penalty minutes in 31 games with St. Louis, while adding 23 points (4-19-23) and 24 penalty minutes in 30 games with Peoria.

The native of Ottawa has appeared in 454 career NHL games with the Blues, Islanders, Ottawa Senators, Boston Bruins, Panthers, Detroit Red Wings and Phoenix Coyotes, collecting 66 points (17-49-66) and 385 penalty minutes. In 270 career AHL games, Rivers has notched 32 goals, 131 assists (163 points) and 355 penalty minutes.

Prior to being selected in the third round, 63rd overall, by St-Louis in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft, Rivers was a member of the Ontario Hockey League’s Sudbury Wolves where he recorded 257 points, including 56 goals, in 228 games. In 1994 he was the recipient of the Max Kaminsky Award as the league’s top defenseman after notching 32 goals and 121 points. The following season he won a gold medal as a member of the Canadian National Junior Team at the world championships contributing three goals and three assists in the seven-game tournament.

Degon, 24, completed his second professional season in 2006-07 with the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack. He led the team’s defencemen in scoring with 34 points (8-26-34) and picked up 40 penalty minutes in 71 games. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound native of Worcester, Massachusetts, played four years with the University of Umass-Amherst Minutemen of the NCAA from 2002 to 2006, where he recorded 83 points (27-56-83) and added 109 penalty minutes.