When it comes to thoughts on the Canucks’ acquisitions of Maxim Lapierre and Christopher Higgins, it’s hard to say something that hasn’t already been said. With that in mind though, there are a few reasons I think these new players will fit well.
The big take away from the addition of Lapierre is that Burrows can finally worry about doing his job. With Rypien out of the lineup, it looked like Burrows was unsuccessfully trying to play under-your-skin-hockey while simultaneously struggling to play Sedin triggerman. Lapierre allows Burrows to focus on offense as a top liner, a role he played earlier in the season when he was the firestarter in an already fiery Kings-Ducks relationship.
The addition of Higgins alongside Lapierre gives the Canucks a more complete 4th line. After rolling through a carousel of 4th line centers who didn’t seem to make the grade, the Canucks managed to deal away some depth (i.e AHL talent) in return for some final pieces of the puzzle – a great decision by management.
Perhaps what’s best of all this is Higgins has the ability to jump up into a top six role if called upon (as is seen in the video below). At least initially though, he rounds out a 4th line that will have 19 games to build some chemistry and get ready for the postseason.
Higgins is the quintessential Mike Gillis pick up. He has speed and skill. He’s young, and more importantly, multi-dimensional.
Both Lapierre and Higgins also bring PK experience that will not only add to an already excellent Canucks special teams, but the big takeaway will be the impact both have in their role as a shutdown line when the game is on the line.
Gone are the days when the likes of Darcy Hordichuk would roam the Canucks’ 4th line. The Canucks have tried all season to find a trio of bottom-six talent to round out this team, and with the first three lines set, that last piece of the puzzle really was one or two players away.
They’re set for the playoffs now; it’s time to bring back Stanley.