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Chris Higgins agrees to tryout contract with Flames

33-year-old forward bought out by Canucks after last season

NHL.com @NHL

Forward Chris Higgins agreed to a professional tryout contract with the Calgary Flames on Tuesday.

"I look at it the same as every camp. Contract or no contract, training camp is tryouts," Higgins told the Calgary Sun. "It's really the same mentality I've always had. I'm just looking to come into camp and make the team."

The 33-year-old spent the past five-plus seasons with the Vancouver Canucks organization after being acquired from the Florida Panthers on Feb. 28, 2011. He had one season remaining on a four-year contract when he was bought out after last season.

"You look at the year prior to last, he was an important player in Vancouver," Flames general manager Brad Treliving said. "I think when you really analyze last year, he suffered an injury early in the preseason and never got his footing. … Now, can he get back to the form he was at a year or two ago? If he can, then good for him and potentially good for us. So we'll see."

Higgins had three goals and four points in 33 games with the Canucks last season. He was placed on waivers in January but was unclaimed and went to Utica of the American Hockey League, where he had nine goals and 13 points in 22 games.

"Chris had a tough year in Vancouver. But prior to that, he was a good player, he was a productive player," Treliving said. "There's some versatility in his game, in terms of being able to play either wing. He's a very good penalty killer. And he's an experienced guy. I know we get to the 30 age-mark and everybody starts to quiver a bit, but there's still some hockey left in him. He's going to come in and compete for a spot, and it's always good to have competition in camp."

Higgins played for the Flames during the 2009-10 season, when he had two goals and three points in 12 games.

"If you ask anybody, I've always said that I loved Calgary and I had a great time playing there," Higgins said. "Besides last year, that was probably the most difficult year that I'd had in my career. I just wanted something new and fresh, and I went down to Florida ... but my thoughts on the city and the organization were all positive."

Higgins, selected by the Montreal Canadiens in the first round (No. 14) of the 2002 NHL Draft, has 165 goals and 333 points in 711 games with the Canucks, Flames, Canadiens, Panthers and New York Rangers. He has 11 goals and 21 points in 62 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

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