34-Year-Old Left Wing – Free Agent
Chris Higgins Contract Information:
Signed a professional tryout agreement with the Flames in August of 2016.
Higgins was released from his tryout agreement with the Flames on Monday.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Chris Higgins.
Despite once being a model of consistency, Higgins spent the past season between the NHL and AHL. A lack of foot speed, finish around the net, and past injuries forced the Canucks to send Higgins to AHL Utica, where he appeared in 22 games. He only finished the season in the NHL after the team suffered a slew of injuries, and managed just three goals in 33 games. Heís a very capable fourth-line winger, but at age 33 heís no longer an attractive fantasy option.
After posting a 17-goal, 39-point season in 2013-14, Higgins took a step backwards with his offensive production in 2014-15. While he went plus-8 after posting a minus-14 rating the year prior, Higgins managed just 12 goals and five power-play points in 2014-15 despite averaging 15:47 of ice time and 1:50 on the man advantage. The former 27-goal man has a terrific shot, but his inconsistency, combined with a lack of PIM and power-play production, has made him an unappealing fantasy player. While itís possible he plays on the second line at some point, itís more likely Higgins starts the season on the third line and is used mostly in a bottom-six role. He isnít as bad as his totals from last season suggest, but heís no longer the 20-goal, 50-point player he was with Montreal earlier in his career.
Higgins managed to be a decent fantasy contributor in 2013-2014, netting 17 goals and 39 points in 78 games. Not known for putting up spectacular numbers, Higgins was able to remain somewhat consistent in a disappointing season that saw the Canucks miss the playoffs for the first time in six years. Although Higgins posted a career-low minus-14 rating, he recorded a relevant 219 shots on goal and came through in the clutch with four game-winning goals. He has never surpassed 52 points in a season and with the departure of former linemate Ryan Kesler, he'll likely have a hard time improving too much on his totals from last season. He will likely start next season on Vancouverís second or third line, with a 15 to 20-goal season being a realistic possibility.
After a bounce-back campaign in 2011-12, Higginsí production dipped again last season, as he finished with just 15 points (10 goals, five assists) and a minus-4 rating in 41 games. He dealt with a knee injury late in the season and during the playoffs, but the veteran winger was able to play through the issue and should be healthy heading into camp. Higgins will likely bounce between the second and third lines at the start of the season, but he needs to produce immediately or he will quickly find himself locked into the bottom six, particularly if the Canucks decide to turn to one of their youngsters. Buyer beware.
Higgins put together one of his best seasons as a pro in 2011-12, finishing with 43 points (18 G, 25 A) and a career-high plus-11 rating. If it werenít for mysterious hand and foot infections that limited him to 71 games, Higgins might have challenged his personal best scoring mark of 52 points set back in 2007-2008. The infection wasnít a concern near the end of the regular season, as Higgins finished strong with 12 points in the final 18 games. Vancouver didnít bring in any help for their top two lines, so Higgins could get a long look with American teammates Ryan Kesler and David Booth on the Canucksí second line, but even if he doesnít stick in the top six, he should be a lock for third-line duty.
The Canucks acquired Higgins at the trade deadline last season, but he finished with just five points (2 G, 3 A) in 14 games with his new squad. Still, he must have impressed team brass, as Higginsí ended up with a two-year contract extension this summer. The 28-year-old winger has shown the ability to pot 20-plus goal seasons, though heíll likely be deployed on the Canucksí third or fourth line, limiting his ability to rack up tons of points.
Higgins signed a one-year deal with the Panthers in the offseason. If he can shake off the injury bug, then we like his chances of putting up close to 35 points, with 20 goals thrown into the mix. Right wing Nathan Horton had spent the last five seasons accounting for much of the offense in Florida, but he's moved on to the Bruins, leaving the door wide open for players like Higgins to take the reins.
Higgins was mediocre last season, but the Rangers are hoping that he breaks and this season to become a star for their team. It seems that Higgins is a longshot to be the stud the Rangers are hoping for, but they're going to give him a ton of ice time and put him in a position to succeed. His numbers should jump a bit from last year.
Higgins finished with a career-high 27 goals and 53 points in 2007-08. However, he was very streaky and his usual placid self (22 PIMs). Higgins' saving grace, now that he's technically the third-best left wing on the team with the offseason addition of Alex Tanguay, is a positional switch to right wing by Tanguay. This has occured and the season will start with Higgins alongside Saku Koivu at center and Tanguay at right wing. Suddenly, thanks to Tanguay's selflessness, Higgins is primed for another solid season. If this line sticks Higgins will be playing with two very gifted passers and for a shooter and go-to-the-net guy like Higgins, that could mean new career-highs once again in goals and points.
Higgins played most of last season with a broken clavicle (shoulder). That's the kind of grit he's made of. Higgins is fully healthy now and poised for a big year on the first line. Higgins should also see significant power-play minutes and usually does the corner work and goes to the net for rebounds and also screens the enemy goalie. He's a viable sleeper in deeper leagues but we'd like to see him play nastier as he's amassed just 52 PIMs in 143 career games.
Higgins has truly made it in the NHL. And what a pronounced leap it was. Higgins only became a regular last season after playing in the AHL for his first few years. He's now a matured more confident player. His ascension to the first line was one of the better stories for the team last year. It was as surprising as it was successful. He bagged 23 goals and 13 assists in 80 games. Higgins works well with Koivu and Ryder. Higgins digs it out to Koivu and he sets up Ryder in the slot. Higgins goes to the net hard looking for a rebound and Bob's your Uncle (and Higgins bags 20-24 goals and 40 points).
Chris Higgins has been touted as a tremendous two-way player, someone that can be trusted in all situations during a game. The former first round pick is looking to make the team and has a great chance because he can do so many things. A little undersized, Higgins uses his smarts and his feistiness to get by. He could pot 15 goals if he sticks with the team.