Canadiens agree to one-year deal with Higgins

Updated: July 10, 2006, 10:02 AM ET
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Montreal Canadiens

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2006 SEASON STATISTICS
GM G A PTS +/- PIM
80 23 15 38 -1 26

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.

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