Canucks Planning to Buy Out Higgins, Keep Burrows Per Report

It is reported that the Vancouver Canucks have finally made their decision on whether or not to buy out Chris Higgins and Alex Burrows. Per Matt Sekeres of TSN 1040 radio, the Canucks will be buying out Higgins and retaining Alex Burrows for the upcoming season.

By buying out the remaining year on Higgins’ contract, the Canucks will have just under $11 million in cap space free for free agency. The breakdown for Higgins’ buyout will see him count against the Canucks cap for $833,333 over the next two seasons, courtesy of General Fanager

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Higgins Buyout

Higgins spent time with both the Canucks and the Utica Comets last season. With the Comets, he recorded 13 points in 22 games while only recording four points in the 33 NHL games he played in this year. Originally acquired in the 2010-11 season, Chris Higgins appeared in 314 games for Vancouver and recorded 62 goals and 142 points. 

As for Burrows, the 35 year-old winger will remain on the Canucks roster for the 2015-16 season. He is on the final year of his contract which has a $4.5 million cap hit. Should the Canucks have bought out the veteran winger, the would have saved an additional $2 million in cap space this year, then cost Vancouver $1 million in the 2017-18 season. 

The decision to buy out Higgins allows the Canucks to offer more money towards a big fish in the free agent market. With Jim Benning being public about his interest in Steven Stamkos, Milan Lucic, and other big name players, they are going to need all the cap space they can to afford one or two of their targets.

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Ever since there were rumours of Stamkos going to free agency, the Canucks have been heavily linked. The consensus amongst insiders is that Stamkos will likely sign a contract for max length (seven years) in the $10-$11 million range. If the Canucks had opted to not buy out Higgins, they would have been in tough to give Stamkos a competitive offer. 

While the decision to keep Burrows is a difficult one, the Canucks are likely restricted to affording only one of the other big names on the open market by retaining him.



  • Neil B

    D Sedin – H Sedin – Hansen
    Baertschi – Horvat – Burrows
    Granlund – Sutter – Virtanen
    Etem – Gaunce – Dorsett

    Zalewski

    Edler – Tanev
    Sbisa – Gudbranson
    Hutton – Tryamkin

    Pedan – Biega

  • Neil B

    D Sedin – H Sedin – Hansen

    Baertschi – Horvat – Burrows

    Granlund – Sutter – Virtanen

    Etem – Gaunce – Dorsett

    Zalewski

    Edler – Tanev

    Sbisa – Gudbranson

    Hutton – Tryamkin

    Pedan – Biega

  • TheRealRusty

    It’s better to put Higgins in the minors so that there’s no cap hit next year. They’re only saving 800k this year by buying him out over denoting him, and then they have that much extra next year, when a bunch of key pieces will need new contracts. (Hutton, Horvath, Tryamkin, Markstrum.)

    I’d rather they use the cap space to take a bad contract and obtain a draft pick with it. If they sign a big name free agent, they’ll have to use a spot to protect him at the expansion draft instead of Hansen/Rodin/Gaunce.

    Then they get a good pick with a bad contract, and another lottery pick next draft, and are better set up for the expansion draft. After that, they can swing for the fences in free agency 2017.

  • wojohowitz

    The Canucks desperately need to acquire two solid, proven top-six forwards if they wish to compete next season.

    Benning shouldn’t waste any time looking at bottom-six players. The Canucks already have that in abundance.

    • detox

      I’d like to see at least 1 high end (skill and scoring) forward acquired like Eriksson.

      I am leery of signing long contracts with ufa’s. but wouldn’t be against overpaying to keep the term short.

      With the stagnating cap, I have some hope that a patient JB can steal a player from a cap strapped team.

  • Ragnarok Ouroboros

    I’m happy about this. Burrows has been my favorite player ever since he made the team. I’m glad to see he gets one more year with the Canucks, and I hope he gets traded to a Contending team at the trade deadline for assets.
    I will miss him. To me he joins the Canuck legends of Stan Smyl, Gino Odgyk, Trevor Linden, Pavel Bure, Tiger Woods, and Markus Naslund as Canucks heroes.

    • detox

      Pretty sure you mean Tiger Williams & not Tiger Woods.

      Probably the right thing to do here, Burrows has bled for this team over his career & deserves a farewell tour, Higgins has become untradeable over the last 2 seasons.

      Would like to see any FA signings to be short term, hopefully Brouwer & Matt Martin.

  • TheRealRusty

    Can’t say this was unexpected. Look for the Canucks to move Burrows at a deadline to a contender if he has a bounce back season.

    On behalf of Canuck Nation, I thank these two classy individuals who have given their all to both the team and the community. Best wishes to you and your family.

  • I’m good with Alex for one more year. He can play both wings, up and down the lineup. He’s a great teammate as well. Good mentor.

    There was something preventing him from working out last summer. I think it was a broken rib. By the time the season started he was behind on his conditioning. If Alex trains hard and stays healthy, he could be a real asset.

    • Neil B

      Slight edit on the line:

      D Sedin-Stamkos-H Sedin

      Hank’s had back issues the last few years, limiting his effectiveness at C. Coupled with Stammer not wanting to platy RW in Tampa, I’d say that it’s a safe bet that when all three are on the ice, it will be Stamkos taking the draw.*

      (*In my febrile dreams, where we actually sign Stammer….)

  • Riley Miner

    It was good of Benning to buy out Higgins, as he would have been buried in the minors; yes, it would have been a marginally better hockey ops decision to keep Higgins in the minors, but not starkly different enough to treat a good soldier for the Canucks for many years like crap. Keeping Burrows is a good move also, his possession numbers have still been good and his cap hit into next year if bought out just didn’t make sense.

  • wojohowitz

    I don`t know if Stamkos wants to come to Vancouver given his choices of going anywhere he pleases but I expect the Canucks to make a serious offer because he is a marquee name that would sell tickets and the owners would really like that.

  • detox

    This is good news, a 833k cap hit for 2 years isn’t unreasonable and retaining Burrows is a good move. Even if he’s only 3rd/4th line he’s still a quality person, great mentor for our young core, and as unselfish a teammate as one could wish for. It also shows a great deal of class towards a player whom has given his all for the club and taken significant pay cuts on his last two contracts to be here.

    As much as Burrows (and Dorsett) get burned for this production as compared to their salary you cannot fault them for their commitment to the team nor for the amount of hustle and effort they put into each shift. Their work ethic will definitely rub off on the younger players, and that’s a huge bonus for the club.

  • Ragnarok Ouroboros

    I really hope the report is true. Buying out Higgins makes sense (and seems more fair than burying him; some team will take a chance on a guy who’s only two years removed from a decent season and who was probably overly penalized by injuries last year); buying out Burrows (who did not look like he had lost a step in the same way but of course his production would take a hit due to age, injuries and not playing with the Sedins anymore) makes little sense in a season where the Canucks do have some cap space. I would find it also highly unlikely that they are going to be able to lure two free agents (nor should they). I would be shocked if we landed Stamkos, not surprised if we get Eriksson, distraught if we get Lucic or any of the elderly defensemen, and happy at an Okposo at a reasonable price (which won’t happen so I hope not at high AAV and term)

  • Vanoxy

    I’d like to see them go after 2 of Erikson, Ladd and Okposo.

    If they get one of those 3 then I’d be open to a Shawn Matthias return as a versatile guy who can play C or LW on any line.

  • Vanoxy

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Burr finds himself on waivers at some point and spending some time in Utica. If he happens to get claimed, that saves us a chunk of cap for a deadline pick-up.

    • Vanoxy

      Boedker will demand more than he’s worth.

      Tempting skill-set but just seems like a career underachiever to me.
      Some GM will throw him $6mil / year. And some Mulatto blogger will start a blog called Pass it to Boedker in the respective city. We’ve already been down that road.

      • Riley Miner

        Comments about “Mulatto bloggers” make me wish for the verbal dexterity of the Scottish in their insults about that maniac Trump to throw at an a**hat like you.

      • pheenster

        Racism. Nice touch. Trump voter I assume? Can you do sexist next? Sexist comments are a hoot.

        Funny to find a Trump hockey fan. I thought all you hillbillies only watched NASCAR and SEC college football.

        • Vanoxy

          Trump? You understand the world in such small terms.

          Trump is no more than a sock puppet for the real folks behind who run the world… like all the rest.

          Why would someone like trump spend millions of someone else’s money for a job that pays maybe 300k?

          Would you spend more money to get a job than what the job actually pays?

          DUH.

        • Vanoxy

          Nothing racist here. Just a thinly veiled reference to a well known Vancouver hockey blogger, at a competing blog, who happens to be half black.

          Trump can suck my 1/2 white, 1/4 native and 1/4 Trinidadian balls.

          P.S. call me Mulatto all day. I won’t be offended.

  • Vanoxy

    It makes sense to keep Burrows from a financial standpoint.
    Canucks will need all or most of the combined 10.5 million of cap from Miller and Burrows expiring to get new deals done for Horvat, Hutton, Gudbranson, and Markstrom.
    What sucks though is if Burrows stays, someone like Etem probably gets pushed out of the lineup.
    There’s only so many spots.
    I think Burrows could have a bit of a rebound year though with a Centre like Sutter where the line isn’t predicated on speed like it is with Horvat. Also knowing it’s probably his final year as an NHLer probably makes Burrows go full tilt all year to go out in style. That’s just the kind of guy he is. Still don’t think there’s room for both Dorsett and Burrows though. Would much rather see Etem in there somewhere.

  • Larionov18

    I agree keep Burrows. Guy deserves to end his Canuck’s career in dignity. Canucks are not cup contenders in desperate need for cap space. His goal against the black Hawks was huge. Yes the run ended so badly..OMG badly but still a heck of a goal.

  • Bud Poile

    Lucic, Stamkos,Brower,Ladd, Erikson.Martin , these are veteran forwards who bring guts, goal scoring to the tables. Since Columbus hosed our hopes of a top offensive young center in Dubois and we did not draft Tkachuk we need a minimum of 1 of these guys to improve our team and Martin does not count in this dept alone. He is a league leader in hits but offers little in offense. Burrows is a favourite of Linden/Desjardins and he has paid his dues here no doubt but offensively he no longer has it. We would be best to buy him out,and if this sounds un loyal then go talk to Wally Buono of the Lions,he has let vets go almost yearly when he deems they no longer have it.Burr has had too many bad offensive yrs in a row now. Higgins is a class act, a proven nhl vet who gets sent to Utica then called back up when we needed bodies,and never once complained. Good luck to him. We were near dead last in the nhl in goals for, how does this change? We need 1-2 of the above listed names just to have a shot at finishing top 10 in the west because everyone else has improved.

  • Steampuck

    Good luck to Higgins. If I’m Garth Snow or some other east coast GM, I’m likely giving his agent a call. While his scoring dropped off, I’d be willing to gamble on his being able to fit in as a new, prototypical fourth-liner, who can skate, forecheck, defend, and put in some worthwhile minutes. I suspect part of his problem in Vancouver was that he was being asked to be Mr. Everything, and the role changed every night. That’s not excusing the cliff his numbers fell off, but given the number of bottom six players the Canucks were rolling last year (three lines of them, effectively), he was only blocking some of the younger players’ development…

  • Bud Poile

    It seems logical that the team is much younger in 2017-2018 with Demko,Boeser and Olli set to come on board.The strategy is to regain competitiveness this season while preparing for the Vegas loss to come.

    This competitive season should be attained with Gudbranson,Tryamkin and a healthy Hank,Edler and Sutter.

    If mgmt. can add solid scoring FA support on the wings we should surprise with a return to the post season without risking a loss of young stars to Vegas.I expect some young Canucks make their way to Utica to protect the future.