Chris Higgins. Source: TSN.ca

Panthers Roster: Chris Higgins.

The Trade Deadline is February 28th at 3PM EST. What we’re going everyday until then is do an honest roster break down of the current roster for the month of February.  Today, we look at Chris Higgins.

Drafted in the first round in 2002 by the Montreal Canadiens the 14th overall pick in that draft, Chris Higgins a United States born player from Smithtown, NY has had a career of ups and downs.  A gifted goal scorer that was probably projected to be a 25 to 30ish goal scorer in his career, his highest total so far has been 27 with Montreal back in the 2007-2008 season.   Coincidentally that was the last season that he played a full 82 games.

Since then, Chris has had a career filled with changes of scenery, injuries, cold streaks, and more injuries.  Traded from Montreal to the New York Rangers in June of 2009 in a seven player deal, Chris found his homecoming to be trying at best.  In 55 games that season which was interrupted with injuries, Chris scored only 6 goals and had 14 points.  His worst professional season ever.  He was traded at the trade deadline that season to the Calgary Flames as part of the Olli Jokinen deal and played 12 games getting 3 points.  A year he’d most like to forget, part of Chris’ scoring woes could have been related to his injuries (he missed 14 games at one point to a foot injury), but moreso to his useage and ice time.  Yes, you have to earn your ice time and your line placement, I agree.  However you also have to put talented players in a position to succeed.

In New York, Chris found himself on many nights on the third or fourth line.  Traditionally those lines are where you place your best defensive forwards and grinders (3rd), and your energy and banger types (4th).  Chris is neither.  He will thrive only on the top six.  Like it or not, that is where he belongs.  But he needs someone to feed him the puck.  He’s got a very good shot and some slick moves, and does have a nose for the net.

Signed by Dale Tallon this summer to a one year contract as a free agent at 1.8 million, it seemed to be a deal that was worth taking, and a player that was worth taking a chance on.  So far this year, with injuries built in, Chris has nine goals and 10 assists for 19 points, playing mostly on the second line.  He has found himself on the 3rd and 4th line at times as well, but I think you’d all agree his best play has been on the top six.

I have always liked Chris, and I think for the past couple seasons, and part of this one included, he’s been misused.  His speed and sense for goal scoring needs to be nurtured.  Surrounding him with a talented center to feed him the puck will make him successful.  I was hoping that this season he would score 20-24 goals.  That seems quite the reach at this point, and I’d be more apt to think he’ll end up somewhere around 15.  To expect him to double his production in less than 30 games with the surrounding cast is asking for too much. Unless of course he’s traded and gets to play with a more offensive minded team.  Which I don’t want to happen cause I really like Chris, but I wouldn’t be surprised if someone made an offer and the Panthers accepted.

Your thoughts on Chris and his future?

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Tags: Calgary Flames Chris Higgins Dale Tallon Florida Panthers Montreal Canadiens New York Rangers

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