Flames bring in Chris Higgins on a PTO

Another fine beard in the collection

This morning, the Flames announced that they will be bringing in veteran left winger Chris Higgins to training camp on a PTO. This will be Higgins’ second stint with the team, having been previously acquired in the trade that sent Olli Jokinen and Brandon Prust to the Rangers. This is the Flames’ second PTO of the year, the first having been used on Jamie Devane

Higgins is probably being brought in as a reclamation project, as his glory days are certainly behind him. A regular 30-40 point scorer, his totals dropped off in Vancouver, and he spent significant time last year with the Utica Comets. Earlier this summer, the Canucks bought out his contract after failing to trade him.

If you’re an optimist, you’re hoping that he rediscovers his old game, though his underlying metrics have not been positive. Last year, he had the best zone starts of his career (32% OZS) but posted the worst FF60 (36.03) and FA60 (45.88) he’s ever had. His PDO was 95.9, so perhaps he could rebound, but his fancystats over the past three years indicate he’s on the downslide. Thomas Drance, Managing Editor of the Nations Network, suggests that perhaps Higgins’ struggles are injury related.

It’s unlikely Higgins stays with the team any longer than training camp. There’s already plenty of 3/4 line players on the roster. If Higgins proves to be more effective than one of them (cough cough Bollig cough), the next question becomes how they will afford him. He’ll be cheap, but there will almost be no space cap wise (pending Johnny re-signing) or roster wise (already at 14 forwards, assuming Shinkaruk and Tkachuk at least start the season in Calgary).

Realistically, Higgins will be a body to fill out the training camp roster. League rules require that teams play eight veteran forwards every preseason game (16 for split squad day). Adding Higgins means that the team doesn’t have to lean extensively on Tkachuk or Bennett, and also allows the team to rotate the roster to keep players fresh. That will likely be the extent of his contributions for the Flames this year.

    • Parallex

      Considering that the Flames graduated their top prospect and didn’t have a first round pick from 2015 I’d say running in place is a good result.

      I have no idea why the Oilers are at 8 thou… I like Puljujarvi too but the small edge I’d give him over Tkachuk doesn’t make up for what I perceive to be Calgary’s better depth.


      On Higgins… I guess it’s for preseason requirements. I don’t see any other reason to have him in camp as I don’t think there is a job that he can win.

    • supra steve

      These prospect ranking lists are never “fair”, in that one club’s primary asset from a draft is a highly ranked prospect (Gauthier, Nylander, Marner) while another club’s is already contributing in the NHL (Monahan, Bennett, Hamilton).

      At the end of the day, the only real measure of success is wins and losses at the NHL level.

    • The Ghost of Alex Plante

      While the Oilers NHL defense is pretty bad, they do actually have some pretty good defenseman coming through their system. Ethan Bear is a candidate to make Team Canada, Caleb Jones has a good chance at making team USA. They have a young defenseman who was an all star in the KHL last year.

      Like I said, their NHL defense is suspect, but they do actually have some intriguing talent in their system.

      • Parallex

        I don’t think it’s any more intriguing talent then what any other team has.

        okey… so they have Ethan Bear, Caleb Jones, Ziyat Paigin, and Markus Niemelainen. Is that better then Kylington, Andersson, Hickey, Fox? Or Morrissey, Kichton, Glover, Stanley? Or the four most notable guys from just about any teams system? Yeah they have intriguing D-men in the system it’s not barron… but “not barron” isn’t a high bar to clear.

        • The Ghost of Alex Plante

          Just pointing out that the sarcasm in the “I guess D aren’t sexy” comment isn’t really valid because the oilers system has some decent defenseman in it.

          I’m not saying its exceptional by any means, but it’s not a stretch that their prospects as a whole are ranked 1 spot higher than the flames.

          • Parallex

            I disagree, it is a stretch.

            Pronman mentions the Oilers D, has the system ranked 1 spot above the Flames. I like to think I can remove my homer goggles and be dispassionate about things and I don’t think the D in the Oilers system are either better at the top end or better in depth. I think Gillies + Parsons + McDonald is better then their goalie prospect collection.

            So who do the Oilers have at forward that let’s them jump over the Flames? I’ll grant that they have the best prospect in Puljujarvi but the difference between him and Tkachuk isn’t so much that it can supercede the rest of the system.

            I’ll buy the Flames at 9… but the Oilers at 8? Not unless McDavid is still what he considers a prospect (and if he still considers McDavid a prospect then the Oilers ought to be #1 or #2 not #8).

            Makes no sense.

  • knappsacked

    Anybody else sick of us picking up the canucks trash? I mean really. Shinkaruk was a good get. But vey, higgins…i dont like it. Makes no sense. These player were let go by the canucks. How can we BEAT them by employing their worst players. Smh. This had better be for ahl depth.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    If this is an example of the caliber of player GG’s old school ties brings to his new team, then Nigel is not moved. Higgins was a bust during his first stint here. Even if he is just preseason roster filler, he is still occupying a spot that should go to a guy who at least has a 1% chance of getting placed by the org.

  • Brent G.

    I can fully appreciate this post is 100% based on emotion. I hope the flames don’t sign Higgins for no other reason than him snubbing them once his contract and heading west immediately. Who needs em

  • Parallex

    Sorry Higgy, you snubbed us so you can’t come crawling back. The past karma alone will bite you in the ass. The team you snubbed will officially put the nail in your coffin. Your career is done. If you get signed I can’t wait to heckle you relentlessly. Since Stajan picked it up and became a model of transformation, I’ve had no-one to tee off on. Can’t wait for pre-season you Jerk. I mean the Canucks? They don’t even deserve the moniker. There is nothing “Canuck” about Vancouver NHL hockey. Best of luck & happy retirement