Rob The Hockey Guy

// A Vancouver Canucks Hockey Blog

Deadline Dealings: Canucks Acquire Higgins and Lapierre

Just when you thought the trade deadline was going to pass with Canucks general manager Mike Gillis doing nothing, he pulled off a pair of deals. The Canucks sent Evan Oberg and a 3rd round pick to the Florida Panthers in exchange for Chris Higgins. Gillis also acquired Maxim Lapierre and minor leaguer MacGregor Sharp (part of the all-name team) from the Anaheim Ducks for Joel Perreault and a 2013 3rd round pick.

Both of these deals caught me off-guard, as both of these players don’t seem to fit the Gillis mold for 4th line players. With that said, lets take a closer look at who these guys are:

Chris Higgins:

Age: 27

Position: Left Wing

Contract: Last year of a deal that pays him $1.6 million. He’s an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

Stats this year: Higgins has had a very underwhelming season. He has 11 goals and 12 assists in 48 games.

Career year: His best came 3 years ago, during the 2007-08 season with the Montreal Canadiens. That season he scored 27 goals and 25 assists in 82 games.

Playoff Pedigree: He doesn’t have a lot of playoff experience, playing in 22 games with the Canadiens. He has a respectable 11 points in those 22 games.

What he will bring: At the moment, I’m unsure. At the moment he is injured with¬† broken thumb and should return in about two weeks. Once he returns, he’ll likely see time on the 4th line as a centre or on the wing (he has played centre before). It’s possible that he gets a chance to supplant Mason Raymond on the Canucks second line, but I doubt it.

Verdict: I’m afraid I don’t agree with this trade. I guess he presents a good insurance policy, but to give up a 3rd rounder for insurance? Seems a bit much. He just strikes me as a player doomed to be an underachiever. He doesn’t really play a 4th line type game, which is where they need the most help.

Maxim Lapierre

Age: 25

Position: Centre

Contract: Last year of a $900,000 contract. He is a restricted free agent at the end of the season.

Stats this year: Splitting time between the Canadiens and Ducks, Lapierre has 11 points in 59 games.

Career year: He is not that far removed from his best season in 2008-09 with the Montreal Canadiens. That year he had 15 goals and 13 assists in 79 games.

Playoff Pedigree: He has 3 goals and 4 assists in 35 career playoff games, so he has some experience. He was on the Habs team that went to the Eastern Conference finals last season.

What he will bring: He will fill the void as the team’s fourth line centre and is an agitator. Canucks fans haven’t seen a sneer like his since Jarkko Ruutu left town.

Verdict: I love the fact that he’s a centre with some grit for the fourth line. The puzzling part is that he plays like Alex Burrows did a few years ago, he’s an agitator that takes bad penalties and dives. Gillis/Vigneault will have a hard time getting him to buy into not taking dumb penalties. Lapierre played for Alain Vigneault in junior, so that’s a good sign, they obviously know what they’re getting into. Overall I like this deal for this season and he’s a restricted free agent at the end of the season which means he’s not a rental player.

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