The Vancouver Canucks have been sitting atop the NHL standings for about a month and have been looking down on the rest of the Western Conference for nearly two months.
That didn't stop GM Mike Gillis from making a couple tweaks to the lineup Monday, when he acquired forwards Maxim Lapierre from the Anaheim Ducks and Chris Higgins from the Florida Panthers without losing anyone from the Canucks' current roster.
Gillis gave up Joel Perreault and a third-round pick to the Ducks and Evan Oberg and another third-round pick to the Panthers.
Lapierre is on his third team this season. He opened the season with the Montreal Canadiens but was traded to the Ducks in late December. Lapierre's biggest asset is his ability to get under the skin of the opposition.
Higgins gives coach Alain Vigneault added depth and can be used on virtually any line. He has 11 goals and 12 assists in 48 games.
"We like his speed and we like his size. He can get in on the forecheck and hit," Gillis said of Lapierre, who should provided much-needed grit in the playoffs. "I think we added experience and a different element than we have on this team. We weren't going to lose anyone out of our line-up, regardless of what we did."
Gillis said he received several inquiries about 24-year-old goaltender Cory Schneider, who is 11-3-2 with a 2.27 goals against average and .927 save percentage as Roberto Luongo's backup.
But there wasn't any offer that was going to make Gillis part with Schneider.
"We were asked about Cory," Gillis said. "We've been asked about Cory for two years but he's a big part of our team."
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