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Tuesday's Numbers: Can Chris Higgins come back, yet?

The worst staph infection ever.

Chris Higgins is back on the ice, and, according to the Ben Kuzma story linked to by Jordan earlier, could make his way back into the lineup tomorrow against Colorado.

This is damn good news.

Chris Higgins in the lineup means the Canucks don't need another winger. I'm not quite convinced that anybody on the trade market can drive possession quite the way Higgins does. Even if they can score a little bit more, fans are beginning to see in Vancouver what happens when the Canucks don't control the shot clock every night.

Going at Behind The Net, here's what Chris Higgins can do:

  • He faces the highest Corsi Rel QoC, the best quality of competition metric offered, among Canuck forwards.
  • Despite a 47.6% offensive zone start rate, Higgins' Corsi number is not only positive, but quite high at just over +10 per 60 minutes.

Going by player scripts, here are other things Chris Higgins can do:

  • Help the Canucks to a score-tied Corsi rate of 52.4% with him in the lineup.
  • This is compared to a 48.1% score-tied Corsi rate with him not in the lineup.
  • His 56.1% Corsi rate is the highest among Canuck forwards who don't have a 75% offensive zone start rate.

If there was a cataclysmic triggering event for how poorly the Canucks have played, it may not have been Higgins' recent infection because the team was quite awful in January with him, but without him, the Canucks obviously haven't been helped any.

He's having a great season and the Canucks can only hope he stays healthy through the playoffs. He's the second line winger that fans say the Canucks really need.