MONTREAL - Canadiens GM Bob Gainey announced Monday the signing of forward Chris Higgins to a one-year contract as well as those of prospects Mathieu Aubin (three years), Matt D'Agostini (three years) and Mikhail Grabovski (two years). As per club policy, financial terms of the deals were not disclosed.
Higgins, 23, completed the 2005-06 season, his first full year in the NHL, with 38 points in 80 games (23 goals, 15 assists) and 26 penalty minutes. He ranked first among team rookies in points and finished second among Canadiens' players, tied with Alex Kovalev, for goals scored during the regular season. Higgins, a 6-foot, 192-pound winger, had a stretch of five games with at least one point, between February 28 and March 7, during which he collected seven points, including six goals. A native of Smithtown, NY, Higgins was the Canadiens' first round pick, 14th overall, at the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.
Aubin, 19, completed the 2005-06 season with 103 points (47 goals, 56 assists) and 63 penalty minutes in 70 games with the Lewiston MAINEiacs, of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. In three-plus seasons in the QMJHL, the 6-foot-2, 190-pound center has recorded 190 points, including 85 goals, and 121 penalty minutes in 188 games. Aubin has also played in 21 career playoff games, collecting seven goals and 11 assists as well as 12 penalty minutes. A native of Sorel, Quebec, Aubin was the Canadiens' fourth pick (fifth round), 130th overall, in 2005.
D'Agostini, 19, completed the 2005-06 season with 79 points (25 goals, 54 assists) and 81 penalty minutes in 66 games with the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League. In two complete seasons in the OHL, the 5-foot-11, 170-pound right winger scored 125 points, including 49 goals, and 110 penalty minutes in 125 games. D'Agostini has also played in 19 career playoff games, collecting eight goals and 22 assists as well as 24 penalty minutes. A native of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, D'Agostini was the Canadiens' fifth pick (sixth round), 190th overall, in 2005.
Grabovski, 22, completed the 2005-06 season with 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists) and 28 penalty minutes in 48 games with Moscow Dynamo of the Russian Elite League. The previous season, the 5-foot-11, 181-pound center collected 36 points, including 16 goals, in 60 games with the Nizhnekamsk Neftekhimik of the Russian League. A native of Potsdam, East Germany, Grabovski was the Canadiens' fourth pick (fifth round), 150th overall, in 2004.