Usually, the theme of most trade deadlines is “the rich get richer.” For the most part, this year’s deals seemed to focus more on contending teams taking a small step forward while cellar dwellers dumped salary as top contenders did very little.
While the top-ranked Vancouver Canucks didn’t make a splashy deal, they weren’t exactly idle either. The Canucks dealt both their 2011 and 2012 third round picks in separate deals to improve the consistency of their bottom six forward group, nabbing Chris Higgins from the Florida Panthers and Maxim Lapierre from the Anaheim Ducks. It looks like the Ducks will receive Joel Perreault and the ’11 pick while Florida will get the 2012 choice and defenseman Evan Oberg.
Both Higgins and Lapierre could make contributions and cause headaches in equal proportions for their new team. Higgins can skate like the wind and contribute a bit on offense (23 points in 48 games for the Panthers), but has also been described as inconsistent. Lapierre is a compliment Alexander Burrows, as he ranks as one of the league’s most obnoxious pests. He could be a nice fit in Vancouver because he is a reasonably efficient overall player (good skater, responsible defensively) but unlike Burrows, he won’t fill the net very often.
If nothing else, Higgins and Lapierre give the Canucks more options deeper in their lineup. Lapierre can also make a team that was already tough to play against downright unbearable.