UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 12:54 p.m. ET by James Onusko
Bob McKenzie of TSN has confirmed that Nathan Horton has signed a seven-year contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets:
Nathan Horton's deal with CBJ is 7 years, $37.1 ($5.3 AAV) but he gets $30M in first 5 years.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 5, 2013
–End of Update–
Nathan Horton, if not the the top unrestricted free agent, was certainly among the top wingers available, prior to signing with the Blue Jackets. In 2013 he played 43 games and had 22 points. He accrued 22 penalty minutes and was +1 in plus/minus.
Horton has been an exceptional top-six player for the Bruins since joining them in 2009-10. Earlier in his career, Nathan was with the OHL’s Oshawa Generals, and played his first five years in the league with the Florida Panthers. The 28-year-old native of Welland, Ontario, was the third overall pick in the 2003 draft.
At 6’2” and 229 pounds, Horton is a blend of size, speed and power that is not often found in a single player. He plays an honest, north-south game that should help him make the transition to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Of note, Horton will not begin play with Columbus until after the season begins. Horton has had some significant injuries throughout his career. He has suffered multiple concussions and shoulder injuries. Amalie Benjamin of The Boston Globe notes that he will undergo shoulder surgery this summer to repair his latest injury.
UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 12:18 p.m. ET by James Onusko
Bob McKenzie of TSN speculates that Nathan Horton could be going to the Columbus Blues Jackets:
Ray Emery in PHI; Nathan Horton in CBJ; Ryane Clowe in NJ. But lots of intrigue, shouldn't be long after 12 noon that signings get done.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 5, 2013
–End of Update–
Horton has had some great regular season numbers. He had 85-point seasons in both 2007-08 with Florida and his first year with the Bruins, 2010-11.
Yet it is in the playoffs that Horton has distinguished himself most, and this potentially makes him very valuable to teams that are in a position to win immediately. Horton had 17 points in 21 games in the Bruins’ run to the 2011 Stanley Cup, while this past spring, he had 19 points in 22 games.
In advanced metrics, Horton also compares favorably with most available wingers, particularly offensively, in this illustrative Hockey Analysis charting. Additionally, his Corsi 5-on-5 number was very good this year, a strong 17.16 in the regular season.