Chris Higgins (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
In a strange move, the Vancouver Canucks announced Saturday that they are shopping veteran winger Chris Higgins. Higgins, 32, has two goals and three points in 25 games this season, and reportedly will not suit for the Canucks before he is traded. Higgins reportedly did not ask to be traded.
While it doesn’t happen often, there are times that a player publicly asks for a trade from his team. Take the Jonathan Drouin situation in Tampa Bay, for instance. For as infrequent as public trade requests are, it’s even more rare that a team outright announces they’re looking to move a player, but that’s exactly the situation with the Vancouver Canucks and winger Chris Higgins.
The Canucks announced Sunday via the team’s website that they are looking to move Higgins, 32, as part of their attempt to inject more youth into their lineup. The announcement came seemingly out of nowhere, but isn’t altogether shocking considering Higgins’ lack of production this season.
“As part of our transition to a younger team, I can confirm we’re exploring trade options for Chris Higgins so we can create more roster space for our younger players to develop,” Canucks GM Jim Benning said in a statement. “Chris is a quality person who has been an important member of our team for nearly five seasons. Our focus has been on finding a positive new situation for him and we will continue to do so.”
Higgins has been limited to 25 game this season and the veteran winger hasn’t been able to produce at near the rate he has throughout his career. He has seen his ice time slip to little more than 14 minutes per game this season — a full four minutes less than his average ice time in 2013-14 — and he has only scored two goals and three points.
Higgins started the season off on the injured list due to a fractured right foot and was never able to get his season back on track after that. Both of Higgins’ goals came during his first three outings back from injury, but 11 games after returning to the lineup he was back on the shelf with an undisclosed injury. He was out two games, returned for eight and then again missed two games for undisclosed reasons. After three games back in the lineup, Canucks coach Willie Desjardins made Higgins a healthy scratch Jan. 6, but he drew back into the lineup Saturday against Tampa Bay.
Saturday’s game against the Lightning could very well have been Higgins’ last game as a Canuck, however. According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Higgins, who reportedly did not request the trade, will not play while Vancouver looks to move him.
Higgins is in the third season of a four-year, $10-million deal he signed with Vancouver in April 2013, and is earning $2.5 million this season. In 306 games with the Canucks over the past six seasons, Higgins has scored 61 goals and 141 points.