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Canadiens agree to one-year deal with Higgins

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens began the summer with
a dozen restricted free agents. They now have cut that total
nearly in half.

On Monday, the Canadiens signed center Christopher Higgins to a
one-year contract worth $673,000.

Getting the 23-year-old Higgins under contract reduces
Montreal's number of restricted free agents to seven. The team
already had re-signed center Mike Ribeiro, right wing Jonathan
Ferland and defensemen Mark Streit and Jean-Philippe Cote.

Drafted 14th overall in 2002, Higgins made his NHL debut in
2003-04, appearing in two games with the Canadiens. He had a
solid season in 2005-06, registering 23 goals and 15 assists in
80 games to finish tied for seventh among rookies in tallies and
become one of 19 first-year players to collect at least 38
points.

Higgins, a native of Smithtown, N.Y., spent two years at
Yale before turning pro, winning the ECAC Hockey League's Rookie of the Year award in 2002 and sharing the
league's 2003 Player of the Year honors with Phoenix Coyotes
goaltender David LeNeveu.