Certainly a strange development Sunday morning with the Canucks issuing a statement explaining to the hockey world that they are exploring trade options for Chris Higgins. It may be an unconventional way of going about business to put the team’s intentions in black and white, but the course of action is the correct one.
For whatever reasons, Higgins has completely faded into oblivion as an effective member of the Vancouver Canucks with 2+1=3 in 25 games this season. He returned to the line-up Saturday after being a healthy scratch on Wednesday against Carolina and showed no difference in his performance. He has gone 10 games without a point and had just 0+1=1 in his last 22 outings.
Here is a chart of NHL forwards this season who have played at least 350 minutes and registered three or fewer points:
Chris Higgins has always seemed like a good guy, but it’s been tough to watch him take a roster spot this season and do nothing with the opportunity. This is a team in transition and that roster spot can and will be better utilized by a younger, hungrier hockey player. That’s simply the bottom line. I don’t know where it goes from here for Higgins, but I can’t imagine that with his age, his contractual situation and his diminishing performance that there will be a taker for him in the NHL right now. My guess is he will wind up on waivers and ultimately in Utica with the Canucks having a decision to make at season’s end.
My lasting image of Chris Higgins is one of a guy sitting in his stall in a relatively empty Canucks locker room in the moments after the Game 7 loss to Boston in 2011. Most of the players needed time to compose themselves. To Higgins’ credit, he was there when the crush of media entered the room and tried to articulate his feelings. It wasn’t easy, I’m sure. You could tell he was completely gutted. I didn’t think much of his performance this season, but have always had a lot of respect for Higgins and the way he carried himself in the moments after the toughest loss of his hockey career. I’ve carried that memory with me for the past four and a half years.
I lost my job six weeks ago. Trust me, it’s no fun being told you’re not wanted by an organization. I hope things work out for him.