Plekanec leads host of Canadiens signings

0%20plek%20copy.jpgTomas Plekanec
Signs for two years

Canadiens general manager Bob Gainey announced today the signing of forward Tomas Plekanec to a two-year contract (2007-08, 2008-09). He’ll be paid $1.4 million this season and $1.8 million, a handsome and well-deserved from his minimum-wage $450,000 of 2006-07.

The contract prevented Plekanec from going the often unpleasant route of salary arbitration to plead his value to his team, while the club suggests he’s not worth what he thinks.

Here’s a link to a feature on Plekanec published in The Gazette 10 days before the end of this past season, talking about his excellent sophomore campaign. It has a link inside it to the audio of the conversation.

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Plekanec scores a pretty goal on Ottawa’s Ray Emery at the Bell Centre on January 29.
Pierre Obendrauf, Gazette

“Tomas Plekanec proved to be one of our most consistent players last season,” Gainey said in a team statement. “He established career highs in all categories and his defensive play was extremely efficient. He is young, dynamic and we strongly believe he is ready to take on more responsibilities with our club.”

In 2006-07, the 24-year-old Plekanec completed his second NHL season and ranked 4th on the team in scoring with 47 points (20 goals, 27 assists) in 81 games and served 36 penalty minutes. The Kladno, Czech Republic native posted the best plus/minus differential on the team (+10). He set career highs in games played (81), goals (20), assists (27), points (47) and powerplay goals (5).

Plekanec, 5-foot-10, 196 pounds, was named the Canadiens’ Molson Cup Player of the Month for January. He posted an average of 15:58 minutes of ice time per game, and was the runner-up for the Jacques Beauchamp Molson Trophy, awarded annually to the member of the Canadiens who played a dominant role during the regular season, without earning any particular honour (Mark Streit in 2006-07).

Plekanec was a Canadiens’ 3rd round pick, 71st overall in 2001.

Tomas Plekanec’s Career Statistics, Courtesy hockeydb.com

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OTHER SIGNINGS ANNOUNCED:

The Canadiens also announced today the signings of forward Cory Urquhart and free agent defenceman Marvin Degon to one-year contracts (2007-08).

Urquhart, 22, registered 17 points in 30 games with the Bulldogs last season (5 goals, 12 asists). He also played in 43 games with the ECHL Cincinnati Cyclones, scoring 40 points (18 goals, 12 assists). Urquhart was a Canadiens’ second round draft pick in 2003.

In 2006-07 the 24-year old Marvin Degon completed his second professional season with the AHL Hartford Wolf Pack. He led the team defensemen in scoring with 34 points in 71 games (8 goals, 26 assists). He was assessed 40 penalty minutes and scored 5 powerplay goals.

The 5-foot-11, 190-pound defenceman 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 goals, 56 assists) and added 109 penalty minutes.

The Canadiens also signed defenceman Mathieu Biron and free agent defenceman Jamie Rivers to one-year contracts for the 2007-08 season.

Biron, 27, was acquired from the San Jose Sharks in return for defenceman Patrick Traverse, on December 15, 2006. In 2006-07, he led the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs defencemen in scoring with 39 points in 77 games between Worcester and Hamilton (10 goals, 29 assists), and posted a +16 differential. Of his 39 points, 21 were registered with the Bulldogs (7-14-21).

The 6-foot-6, 230-pound defenceman who hails from Lac St-Charles played 253 career games in the NHL with the NY Islanders, Tampa Bay, Florida and Washington. He recorded 44 points (12 goals, 22 assists) and added 177 penalty minutes.

A 32-year old defenceman who hails from Ottawa, Jamie Rivers played 454 career games in the NHL, recording 17 goals and a total of 66 points. He also served 383 penalty minutes. In 2006-07, the 6-foot, 190-pound rearguard split the season between the St-Louis Blues, recording a goal and three assists, and the Peoria Riverman, the team’s AHL affiliate, where he earned 4 goals and 19 helpers.

Prior to being selected in third round (63rd overall) by the St-Louis Blues in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft, Rivers was a member of the OHL 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 OHL Top Defenceman after notching 32 goals and a total of 121 points. The following season he won a gold medal as a member of the Canadian National Junior Team at the World Junior Championships contributing three goals and three assists in the seven-game tournament. Over the course of his NHL career, Rivers also played with the New York Islanders, Ottawa Senators, Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers, Detroit Red Wings and Phoenix Coyotes.


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