- Associated Press - Monday, February 28, 2011

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA (AP) - The league-leading Vancouver Canucks added center Maxim Lapierre from Anaheim and left winger Chris Higgins from Florida before Monday’s NHL trade deadline.

Vancouver got Lapierre and minor league center MacGregor Sharp from Anaheim in exchange for center Joel Perrault, who has 96 games of NHL experience but played just seven for the Canucks this season, and a third-round draft pick in 2012.

Vancouver also added Higgins from Florida for prospect defenseman Even Oberg and a third-round pick in the 2013 draft.

“We feel we made our team a little better today,” general manager Mike Gillis said of the deals. “We feel we have something really unique in that dressing room that we don’t want to mess with.”

Lapierre, who split time this season between Montreal and Anaheim, had five goals, 11 points and 72 penalty minutes in 59 games.

The 25-year-old will be counted on to settle a fourth line that has used 11 different forwards this season, and often employed wingers out of position in the middle.

Drafted 61st overall by Montreal in 2003, Lapierre also has 35 playoff games in five seasons with the Canadiens, where he played for Canucks coach Alain Vigneault.

“Alain is completely confident he has a good relationship with him and that he’s coachable and that he wants to win,” Gillis said. “That was a major reason we made this transaction.”

Higgins, expected to be out another week to 10 days with a broken thumb, had 11 goals and 23 points in Florida this season.

The 27-year-old, who had a career-high 27 goals and 52 points in Montreal in 2007-08, will start alongside Lapierre, a former teammate in Montreal, on the fourth line. But he could push for playing time on the second line, where Mason Raymond has struggled.

“If he plays well, he won’t be on the fourth line,” Gillis said of Higgins.

To clear room on the roster and the salary cap for the two additions, the Canucks sent center Cody Hodgson, the 10th overall pick in 2008, and fourth line winger Victor Oreskovich to Manitoba of the American Hockey League.

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