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So much for Marty Reasoner, Maxim Lapierre does just fine, thank you very much. Am I with everyone else in thinking these are great moves for the Canucks? Here’s the way I see it:

 

Maxim Lapierre 

-59 GP, 5 G, 6 A, 11 PTS, -13, 72 PIM

-Turns 26 years-old March 29.

-Is an RFA this summer.

- 314 career games played. 83 points.

Keys: 

- Has more hits this season than any other Canuck (164 in 59 games)

- Fills the 4th line centre position with face-off ability and size. Won 100/183 face-offs this year.

- Recent playoff experience

 

Overall, I think this is a great pick-up. The price was right and Lapierre is a tangible asset as he is still a restricted free agent this summer. He brings a lot to the fourth line and appears willing to do whatever it takes to win.

I remember Lapierre as one of those critical plugs/agitators needed in the playoffs last year and he can skate fast for a guy with size. He played 12 minutes per game at even strength, scored three goals and led the team in hits during the Canadiens 19 game playoff run that lasted into the fifth game of the Eastern conference finals. With the love obsession Canucks fans have with Jannik Hansen they should be equally, if not more, ecstatic about Lapierre’s game.

A lot of media members are making a lot of Lapierre being undisciplined and him fitting into the reformed Canucks team (with Kesler and Burrows’s new found “maturity”). I really don’t understand this (well, I do) granted 40 of his 72 PIMs this year are a result of fighting or offsetting game misconducts. He’s never had over 76 PIMs in a season and when he did reach 76 he scored 15 goals (2008-09). In other words he takes an average amount of minor penalties for his role (and how many of those minors were offsetting?).

In any case what 4th line doesn’t get physically and verbally dirty every now and then? If you aren’t chirping a bit and throwing your weight around on the fourth line you arguably aren’t doing your job. 

He isn’t in the Alex Burrows or Ryan Kesler talent pool, like Gillis said today, so if he does agitate a bit, so what? Unlike Kesler he probably is better with a  chip on his shoulder. Maybe. I don’t know. Seems to work for Brouwer and Bolland, anyways and didn’t seem to upset Keith, Toews or Kane’s focus. The Canucks can focus fine with Lapierre stirring the pot on the fourth line. The key is for other teammates not to get involved and I think this has been well addressed by Gillis and Vigneault.

Also, Lapierre has a past relationship (obviously it was a good one or at least amicable or Gillis wouldn’t have acquired him) with Alain Vigneault (junior leagues) which should help iron out any “differences” if there are in fact any.  

 

Chris Higgins

-48 GP, 11 G, 12 A, 23 PTS, +5, 10 PIM

-Turns 28 years-old June 2.

-Is a UFA this summer.

- 397 career games played. 191 points.

Keys: 

- Is a flexible player: Can play on the second line and has shown he can score in the NHL.

- Gives the Canucks another penalty killer. Was one of four of Florida’s penalty killers this year; Florida’s PK is 2nd best in the league. This should relieve Kesler and Burrows of some PK ice time.

 

Like Lapierre I think the price the Canucks paid for Higgins was reasonable. I liken Higgins to Gumby. He can chip in offensively, kill penalties, and seems like a coachable player.

I haven’t seen much of Higgins this year. In fact I haven’t watched one Florida Panthers game other than when they played the Canucks. I reckon the same goes for most everyone in Vancouver, so who knows what Higgins brings to the table other than looking at his lines.

Obviously he’s bounced around a bit these past two years but that’s as much a fault of his teams being poorly managed (Cgy and NYR) and a contract that was out of Higgins league, with all due respect. 

I know he’s got a great shot from his Canadiens days so I see Higgins being the trigger man on the third line with Malhotra and Torres with Hansen dropped to the fourth line (and assuming more PK time from Kesler). I’m sure he can work on the second line too if Raymond’s slump continues. I don’t see him on the fourth line or the press box but we’ll see how he does.

Certainly joining the top scoring team in the NHL Higgins shouldn’t put much pressure on himself to score so let’s hope that loosens up those mitts of his!

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