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Sharks, Habs swap defensemen

The Montreal Canadiens announced today the acquisition of defenseman Mathieu Biron from the San Jose Sharks, in return for blueliner Patrick Traverse.

Biron will join the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs, who are in Rochester tonight, while Traverse will report to the Worcester Sharks.

Biron, 26, is currently the AHL’s fourth-leading scorer among defensemen, posting 18 points (three goals, 15 assists) and 42 penalty minutes in 24 games with Worcester after signing with San Jose as a free agent on Aug. 9, 2006.

The 6-foot-6, 230-pound defenseman played 52 NHL games with the Washington Capitals last season, recording 13 points (4g, 9a) and 50 penalty minutes.

A native of Lac St-Charles, Quebec, Biron has played six full seasons in the National Hockey League with the New York Islanders, Tampa Bay, Florida and Washington. 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 (12g, 32a) and 177 penalty minutes.

Biron has 11 goals and 41 assists for 52 points in 158 career AHL games with Worcester, San Antonio, Springfield and Lowell.

Traverse, 32, was acquired through waivers by Montreal from San Jose on Sept. 28 and has appeared in 26 games with Hamilton this season, recording one goal and four assists.

The 6-foot-4, 203-pound defenseman has 65 points (14g, 51a) and 113 penalty minutes in 279 career NHL regular-season games with Ottawa, Anaheim, Boston, Montreal and Dallas.

A Montreal native, Traverse was in his second stint with the Hamilton Bulldogs after playing 80 games and collecting 26 points (5g, 21a) and 31 penalty minutes in the 2003-04 AHL season.

In 447 career AHL games since his pro debut with the New Haven Senators at the end of the 1992-93 season, Traverse has recorded 38 goals and 111 assists for 149 points.

This will be Traverse’s second stint in Worcester. He played 24 games for the AHL’s IceCats in 1996-97.