If higgins keeps this pace... he's gonna ask for Patrice Bergeron kind of money... which is too much... so if he's not able to get that much money, he'll probably sign for a year or 2 and then get the big pay check.
He should have an 80 pts year before asking this amount of money. And Bergeron made it at 21 years old. Higgins is 23.
No need to spend it if you don't have to. Throwing a long-term, big buck, deal at Chris at this point is not a good idea IMO. I think Higgins is a big part of the future, but that doesn't mean you break the bank for him before absolutely necessary. Qualify him as long as you can and when the time comes to anti up a big deal do it. Not before. Chris doesn't have the attitude that comes with someone that won't stay if everything isn't as they want.
The point is that if you give him a 4 year deal like this. 2, 2.5, 3 , 3.5 that averages out to 2.75 This means that the 4th year of the contract instead of taking 3.5 million on your cap he takes 2.75. That's 750k you can put on an other player durring that 4th year.
That's just an example dont discuss the numbers. I's just to show that you spread out the cap hit instead of having a big hit on the 4th year.
I would lock him up long term (5+ years). I think Higgins is only going to get better and financially it makes sense to lock him up longterm now (even knowing its a bit of a risk) because if we one year contract him until he gets to be an UFA he will end up demanding alot of money if hes still good.
Higgins is the one player I am not worried about. He grew up a Habs fan, he has a good head on his shoulders.
Unless Montreal does something terrible to him, I see him as the same kind of player as Koivu, getting a modest amount of money, staying loyal to the team and doing what it takes, as far as taking paycuts to ensure the team has a chance of winning.
He'll be a Hab for many, many years. I think we've underestimated his upside. Early scouting reports said his upside was Drury, but we've seen flashes of Nieuwendyk (in his prime) and even Sakic/Yzerman in his game. His vision and awareness of the game are off the charts, not to mention he has awesome hand/eye coordination and a great work ethic.