Canucks add two forwards at trade deadline

HOSEA CHEUNG, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:10 PM ET

The Canucks may have waited until the final minutes of Monday's NHL trade deadline to make a move, but in the end, they got what they were searching for.

Looking to add depth up front, general manager Mike Gillis acquired a couple of former Montreal Canadiens in separate deals to shore up the team's bottom six.

Vancouver traded centre Joel Perrault and a 2012 third rounder to the Anaheim Ducks for centres Maxim Lapierre and MacGregor Sharp, before dealing defenceman Evan Oberg and a 2013 third rounder to the Florida Panthers for left winger Chris Higgins.

"With Chris Higgins we have a player that can move up and down the lineup. With Max Lapierre, we have a third line/fourth line player that can play with some grit and sandpaper, and add a different dimension," Gillis said. "What we wanted to do was strengthen in areas that we didn't currently have, we wanted more experience and we wanted NHL quality players to play a role on this team."

Gillis said despite serious offers for goaltender Cory Schneider and centre Cody Hodgson, it wasn't his intention to trade them.

"We weren't going to lose anybody out of our lineup regardless of what we did, unless there was a way to have a dramatic improvement," he said. "We made our team a little better today. We feel real confident with the group we have."

Lapierre, 24, will be playing on his third team this season after being traded to Anaheim from Montreal in December. The six-foot-two, 207-lbs forward has five goals and 11 points in 59 games this season. In last year's playoffs with the Habs, he racked up three goals, four points and 20 penalty minutes in 19 games.

"I'm a playoff type of guy," Lapierre said. "My experience last year was great, we had a good run. I did pretty good and I'm ready to go for another long run this year."

The Saint Leonard, Que. native, who earns $900,000 this season, plans to play Tuesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets in Vancouver.

Higgins, however, won't be suiting up just yet as he is sidelined with a broken thumb and is expected to be out seven to 10 days. The Smithson, N.Y. native and a former Habs first round pick, 14th overall in the 2002 draft, has 23 points in 48 games this season. In 397 regular season NHL games, the 27-year-old has 103 goals and 191 points.

Higgins, who will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, is earning $1.6 million this year.

"Obviously going to a team that's first in the NHL right now, it's an exciting opportunity," he said. "I can be a pretty versatile player and be used in a variety of different situations. I'm just looking forward to finding my niche on the team and being able to contribute every night."

As for his injury, suffered Friday against Atlanta, he told Sportsnet:"Its still pretty sore. Hopefully it won't be too much of an issue. I hope to get back in the lineup as quickly as possible."

To make room for the new arrivals, Cody Hodgson and Victor Oreskovich were returned to the Manitoba Moose.


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