Higgins, 32, has another year left on his deal next season at $2.5 million.
He cleared waivers Wednesday, and later in the day was reassigned to the AHL Utica Comets.
The Canucks announced they want to continue to make their roster younger after trading for Emerson Etem on Friday and deemed Higgins expendable as part of that process. Etem is 23.
Higgins, a good penalty killer, has two goals and one assist in 25 games this season. He had 12 goals and 24 assists in 77 games last season.