NHL Predictions 2011-2012: Boston Bruins' Nathan Horton's Role This Season

Brian Roach@BrianRoachJrCorrespondent ISeptember 18, 2011

VANCOUVER, BC - JUNE 15:  Nathan Horton #18 of the Boston Bruins celebrates with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Vancouver Canucks in Game Seven of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Arena on June 15, 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Boston Bruins defeated the Vancouver Canucks 4 to 0.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Nathan Horton is one of the keys to the Boston Bruins' 2011-2012 season success, but that is if he can remain healthy for the most part of the NHL season. He started off on the right foot with his first practice Saturday.

Horton was given a concussion in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals and has been off the ice since then, but who knows if the concussed goal scorer can play the way he played in his 2010-2011 campaign.

Whatever happens. the Boston Bruins will make sure nothing bad happens to Horton whether it be in training camp or the regular season.

Last year, Horton had 26 goals and 27 assists in his first full year with the Bruins. He also added eight goals and nine assists in the postseason before the concussion. These numbers will hopefully be improved upon in the 2011-2012 season.

Horton must have a 25 goal season for the Bruins to make another push in the playoffs to try and win consecutive Stanley Cups.

The Bruins should play Horton slowly in order to keep him from having issues with this head injury. Limiting his minutes early and making sure to rest him if he feels different. If the Bruins can do this, then Horton should be the goal-scorer he was before being injured.