VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Canucks announced Monday the club has placed Chris Higgins on waivers with the intention of buying out the final year of his contract.
The move to cut ties doesn't come as a shock after the veteran forward found himself squeezed out of the lineup during a 2015-16 season that included a 22-game stint with the AHL's Utica Comets.
Prior to sending Higgins to the minors, the Canucks took the unusual step of announcing publicly they were trying to deal him to another team in order to make room for younger players. Vancouver also attempted to move the native of Smithtown, N.Y., at the trade deadline, but couldn't find a taker.
The 33 year old, who was set to make US$2.5 million in 2016-17, broke his foot in training camp last September and never really found any traction, finishing a miserable campaign with three goals and an assist in 33 games.
Higgins spent six seasons with the Canucks and was a member of Vancouver's run to the 2011 Stanley Cup final after coming over in a deal with the Florida Panthers at the NHL trade deadline.
In 711 career games with Vancouver, Florida, Calgary, Montreal and the New York Rangers, Higgins has registered 165 goals and 168 assists to go along with 21 points (11 goals, 10 assists) in 62 playoff games.
In another move Monday, the Canucks re-signed pending restricted free-agent forward Emerson Etem to a one-year deal worth $775,000.
The 24-year-old was acquired in a trade with the Rangers partway through last season, collecting seven goals and five assists in 39 games with the Canucks after picking up just three assists in 19 games with New York.
The native of Long Beach, Calif., has 22 goals and 24 assists in 170 career games with Vancouver, New York and the Anaheim Ducks.