Jump to content
The Official Site of the Vancouver Canucks
Canucks Community

[Rumour] Canucks Shopping Chris Higgins *Update* Refuted by Trevor Linden


Recommended Posts


It was not an easy night for Linden or Benning.

"When youre sitting in this chair, its not as easy as you think", Linden said.

What he did do, when it was over, was call over the biggest critics of the night for a 10-minute session.

It was a nice gesture but may have been ill-advised.

In it, Linden revealed several tidbits, including his pitch that the Canucks have been trying to trade Chris Higgins but have found they can not move his contract.

In short order, the comments were all over social media, and then on the radio. The Higgins trade horse is officially out of the barn.

Maybe they're hoping something will change in August, unlikely, or people will forget to ask Higgins when he comes back to town in two months, again unlikely.

Either way, its probably one of the mis-steps on a night Benning and Linden handled their critics pretty well overall, all things considered.

***Chris Higgins has 2 Years remaining with a $2.5 Million cap hit and a Limited No-Trade Clause***



Jim Benning called Chris Higgins a glue guy at the NHL trade deadline and wondered aloud where the trade speculation started.

And did Trevor Linden really call the wingers contract unmovable in a private post-summer-summit scrum with critics of the club president Thursday night? If he did, it would confirm the Vancouver Canucks have been trying to do what many expected in the off-season move Higgins. But apparently not.

"Chris Higgins is an important player on our team", Linden said in a statement Monday. "We have not talked to any clubs about trading him. We value Chris both for his on-ice abilities and his leadership in the locker-room."

With two years remaining on his contract at $2.5 million US annually, the 32-year-old Higgins has become another intriguing roster story because as much as he wants to remain here, the Canucks need to transition to a younger and faster club to keep pace in the highly competitive Western Conference.

Higgins would have commanded more at the trade deadline, when teams are less reluctant to part with a pick than at the draft and contenders are always looking to add veteran depth. Higgins stayed put at the deadline because the Canucks thought a veteran core would get them by the Calgary Flames. But a sobering first-round playoff series loss exposed them as older, slower and lacking a significant grit quotient.

The Higgins commitment said something because he only had a dozen goals and 36 points last season, yet received second-line loyalty from coach Willie Desjardins in a pairing with centre Nick Bonino. Higgins struggled through 12- and 16-game goalless funks, but was a big part of the leagues second-ranked penalty kill. He also finished fourth on the team in shots and went 3-for-5 in shootouts.

Higgins has been traded twice in his career and understands the possibility of it occurring again at some point. Maybe not now, but maybe eventually.

"You try to take it all in stride. Its been a crazy year and a tough year away from the rink", Higgins said after his fiancée, Chantal, delivered the couples first child, a seven-pound, four-ounce baby girl named Bowen on April 10. "Finally, everything is starting to settle. I've felt more like myself the last couple of weeks."

Higgins had the game-winning goal in Game 2 against the Flames, but was reduced to a fourth-line role when Sven Baertschi was recalled for the last two series games. And when you look back on that series, you can see where the Canucks need to go. Its a matter of when they get there and a lot of that will be dictated by NHL readiness and the salary cap. The Canucks have 22 players signed with $2.8 million of cap space.

The unproven Baertschi, 22, is pencilled in as the second-line left-winger and the trickle-down effect would actually place Higgins in a more suitable role on a possible third line with Bonino and Jannik Hansen. But is that what the Canucks really see or really want? Or do they envision converted centre Brendan Gaunce, 21, making the leap after a strong AHL season with the Utica Comets? Or, does he need another season in the minors to truly develop an NHL game? Same goes for left-winger Hunter Shinkaruk, 20, whose game also grew significantly with the Comets.

Higgins buys some roster development time and insurance should Baertschi, a restricted free agent who still needs to be signed, bomb in a top-six role. That would at least give the Canucks some continuity on a second line that could feature Bo Horvat and Radim Vrbata, but that comes with no guarantees. Being bumped up puts more pressure on the sophomore Horvat to produce more offence after a 13-goal campaign and Vrbata will be hard pressed to match his 31 goals of last season, especially if hes only a somewhat regular linemate and first-unit power-play producer with Henrik and Daniel Sedin.

The Canucks have 13 projected roster forwards under contract, including Ronalds Kenins and rookie Jake Virtanen, and they still need to sign Baertschi, a restricted free agent. And if Benning believes he needs to carry eight defencemen because of a taxing schedule and demanding division the Canucks used 11 blue-liners last season then simple roster max math means 13 forwards, eight defencemen, two goalies and few fresh faces. It means the roster is virtually set and bringing Virtanen along slowly as an extra forward makes sense spreading out those nine games to not burn a year of his contract and then allowing the right-winger to spend a month with the world junior team unless the Canucks do something more dramatic in the off-season. And that seems unlikely.

The big shift in franchise dynamics will come next summer. With nine roster players on expiring contracts, cap space will be cleared and youth will be served. The Canucks will have at least a first- and two second-round picks in the 2016 draft and they could add more if not in playoff contention by the next trade deadline.

Its not something Canuck management expects because the awkward and unrealistic dual mandate of making the playoffs and getting younger remains, but not advancing to the post-season could be a stark reality because top division rivals are stronger, younger and better.

Should all that occur, the Canucks should unload anybody they can next March, especially Vrbata, probably Brandon Prust and the versatile Higgins.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Higgins is just a waste of a roster spot. I can see why people wouldn't want him

if he is honestly thst nad he needs to be sitting in the box or testing the waiver wire. Seems like a great guy but if he hold no value and is holding a roster spot that a kid could take then that is a problem.
Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...