Who is this guy?
Name: Christopher Higgins
Nicknames: Higgy, The Professor, Abs.
Born: June 2, 1983 in Smithtown, New York
Size: 6'0", 203 pounds
The Canucks acquired Higgins in February of 2011 in exchange for Evan Oberg and a 3rd round pick. That was an excellent trade by Mike Gillis.
What did he do?
Well, he didn't get any foot infections! Higgins played in 78 games this season, scoring 17 goals and 39 points for the third-best season of his career. He had a sad -14 plus-minus, 30 penalty minutes, 2 power play goals and 3 power play points. He had 1 short-handed assist. He scored an overtime goal in December:
Higgy averaged 19:10 of ice time per game under a coach that was familiar with him. He deserved it. Higgins was one of the few bright spots on the Canucks this season. That time on ice ranked him 3rd on the forwards of the team, by the way.
So was he any good?
Yeah, he was good. Higgins has 3 more years left on his contract that pays him $2.5 million per season. The ceiling on Higgins is a 20-20 player, meaning 20 goals and 20 assists. He pretty much delivers that. His 17 goals ranked him second on the team behind Kesler. His 22 assists ranked him 4th, as did his 39 points. His 4 GWG was 2nd on the team. His 216 shots ranked him 3rd behind Daniel Sedin and Ryan Kesler.
Higgins scored 10 goals on home ice, which tied him for 1st with Daniel Sedin. 24 of his points came on home ice, which was 3rd on the team behind the Sedins.
-Higgins scored 9 goals and 21 points against Eastern Conference teams.
-5th on the team with takeaways.
-Only Higgins and Mike Santorelli had 2 shootout goals this season.
What did we like?
Well, a lot of what I mentioned earlier is what we like about Higgins, but let me add a few more things in general:
-He brings effort.
-He is versatile. He played an average of 2:05 shorthanded icetime on a team that kicked ass when shorthanded this season. He averaged 1:38 of power play time on ice on a dog crap power play.
-Higgy can play top 6 or bottom 6 minutes when called upon.
-Higgins had 8 multi-point games this season.
**For the record, when Higgins registered a point this season, the Canucks had an 18-8-4 record.
So what did we hate?
I don't have many knocks on Higgins...ever. But if there is one thing that I hate it is his inconsistency in point production. He is streaky. Let's break down his performance by month this past season.
October: 4 goals and 3 assists in 15 games.
November: 3 goals and 3 assists in 13 games
December: 4 goals and 9 points in 13 games.
January: 4 goals and 9 points in 14 games.
February: 1 goal and 2 assists in 5 games.
March: 1 goal and 4 assists in 14 games.
April: 0 points in 4 games.
Huh....well sure his March and April really stunk, but in a season like this, where we got the most out of Higgins, I really can't even knock his inconsistency. He was one of the best Canucks forwards this past season. Period.
Higgins is generally a good 2-way player. He does face a lot of top quality opposition, being on Ryan Kesler's line most of the time. I did find an advanced stat at Behind The Net that was not very flattering for Higgins: His on-ice save percentage was the worst on the team at .899. A part of that is indicative in his -13 plus/minus rating.
So what now?
If we consider that Higgins, at his best, is a 20-20-40 player, then what we can look forward to next season with Higgins is him staying on Ryan Kesler's line with another top 6 forward added to the mix to compliment the two. David Booth was supposed to be that guy but is NOT. What we saw this season was an excellent second line of Higgins-Santorelli-Kesler...until Martin Hanzal wrecked Santo's shoulder. Who knows how many more points Higgins and Kesler would have achieved with a healthy Santorelli. That second line was gold though. Perhaps we see it again.
Like I said earlier, he can play any role on this team, so count me in as being the guy who is happy to have this guy around. He is the best bang for the buck on the team.
Here is an example of the Higgins / Santorelli combo...against Boston:
Let's see more from Abs:
Talk about effort:
I don't know how many of Higgins' goals were tip-ins, but he's good at them. Example:
Higgy gets a lot of goals from standing in front of the net (the dirty area):
Higgy scores in front of family and friends:
Hell yea! We love the Professor! Thank you for your efforts this past season, Chris. Well done!