The 32-year-old was demoted to the minors in January after clearing waivers.
Prior to sending him down, the Canucks took the unusual step of announcing publicly they were trying to trade Higgins to make room for younger players.
Vancouver — which is destined to miss the playoffs for the second time in three seasons — also attempted to move the Smithtown, N.Y., native at the NHL trade deadline, but couldn’t find any takers.
Higgins broke his foot in training camp this season and registered just two goals and an assist in 25 games. He went on to accumulate nine goals and four assists in 22 contests with Utica.
In parts of 12 NHL seasons with Montreal, Calgary, Florida, Vancouver and the New York Rangers, Higgins has 164 goals and 168 assists in 703 games.
He still has another season left on a four-year deal that carries an annual cap hit of US$2.5 million.