Canucks Gain Depth by Acquiring Higgins, Lapierre

Updated: February 28, 2011 at 7:46 pm by Alexander Monaghan

The news came pretty late in the day but the Vancouver Canucks finally made their move and addressed their needs.

In two separate deals, Mike Gillis and company got a gritty fourth line center in Maxim Lapierre and can now push speedy forward Mason Raymond into producing by acquiring Christopher Higgins.  As a complete non sequitur, both players are actually former Montreal Canadiens.

Here are the two deals:

  • The Florida Panthers trade Higgins to the Canucks for Evan Oberg and a 3rd round pick.
  • The Anaheim Ducks trade Joel Perrault and a 3rd round pick for Lapierre and MacGregor Sharp.

The Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault actually coached Lapierre with the PEI Rocket back in 2004-2005, so he may know how to tame the guy who played his way off of two teams this season. Lapierre was traded earlier in the season to the Ducks after falling out of favor with head coach Jacques Martin. He then was relegated to fourth line duty under Randy Carlyle prior to his deal, moving from the third line center position they envisioned him in.

In Higgins, the team gets a very similar player to Raymond, who essentially provides a perfect example of how his career can fall off the map. Higgins can create scoring chances and skate on any line between the first and third once healthy. Out right now with a broken finger, he is expected to miss a week to 10 days before challenging for playing time.

Again, two good hockey deals. Anaheim gets a pick for an asset they could do without. They also rid themselves of a failed prospect in Sharp. The Panthers also rid themselves of some salary by shedding Higgins off the books in the now infamous #FlaPanthersFireSale.

In summary… (line changes)

Canucks: Get their fourth line center, sending Cody Hodgson and Victor Oreskovich back to the AHL. Jeff Tambellini draws back into the lineup as a result. As previously mentioned, Higgins could see time with Ryan Kesler when he returns.
Ducks: Kyle Chipchura replaces Lapierre on the fourth.
Panthers: Oberg could be NHL ready and prevent the team from re-calling Keaton Ellerby. Considering Higgins is hurt he was already replaced by Michal Repik and David Booth on the Cats’ top line.

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