Chris Higgins, who has bounced around the league the last few seasons (including getting bounced by Canucks D-man Keith Ballard in the accompanying photo), has scored 20 goals or more three times – no small feat. And has potted 11 goals this season in 48 games. While not a physical force, he represents some scoring depth for the Canucks, a player that could spell the struggling Mason Raymond on the second line.
Perhaps more importantly, the Canucks have finally found a real 4th line centre in Maxim Lapierre – a speedy agitator who should combine nicely with the rotating crew of grinders occupying the fourth line this season. And he’s French Canadian, which should put him in Alain Vigneault’s good books to start.
This acquisition seemingly spells the end of this season’s Cody Hodgson audition. So it’s back to the farm for the team’s top prospect, who must be frustrated with yet another roadblock in his development. Clearly, in the minds of those that matter, he’s not yet ready for prime time. And accordingly, Mike Gillis gets to hold onto his draft table grade of “incomplete” for yet another season.
Best of all, the price to pay for these two players was not significant and will not impact the much talked about chemistry of the current Canuck edition. The Canucks lose defense prospect Evan Oberg, minor league forward Joel Perrault and a couple of third round picks (2011 and 2013).
While it might have been nice to add a player with the pedigree of Jason Arnott, there would have been salary cap implications that would have likely required the Canucks to part with a roster player – something they appeared loathe to do.
In the end, Mike Gillis has done what he’d said he’d do with no real risk. Let’s hope it’s enough.Tags: Vancouver Canucks