As if Boston Bruins fans needed any more bad news to add to the veritable avalanche of bad news coming from the Black and Gold this week, there is still even more than before. Today, just one day before the 2013 NHL Draft is set to do it all in one day down in New Jersey, the player agent for Nathan Horton has let Bruins reporters know that his client will not be returning to the team.
Horton, who was set to become an unrestricted free agent upon the slightly-delayed July 5 start of free agency, was coming off the end of a six-year deal and carries a $4 million cap hit. DJ Bean of WEEI suggests that trading his rights could be something that Bruins brass look to do and Horton’s agent Paul Krepelka said that the decision isn’t based on finances. But let’s not focus on the ins and outs of the not-fun side of hockey when it comes to Horton right now. Let’s focus instead of what he did for the team and how they’re going to miss him.
He originally came to be a Bruin, along with Gregory Campbell, in a June 2010 trade that involved Dennis Wideman and two different picks in two different drafts. In his very first season in Boston, he was second on the team in terms of goals and fourth in assists. At one point, he was rolling on a six-game point streak, but he really did big things in the 2011 playoffs as the Bruins hunted for the Stanley Cup.
Among his eight goals and nine helpers in the postseason were three game-winning goals: one in overtime against the Montreal Canadiens in Game 5, one in overtime to win the series against the Habs and the lone goal needed in a dramatically tightly-fought Game 7 against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Final. A cheap shot from Aaron Rome of the Vancouver Canucks put an early end to his Cup pursuits, but even though he couldn’t play, he still contributed–that famous bottle of water from TD Garden ice, sprinkled on Rogers Arena ice before the decisive Game 7, was all him.
Another concussion sliced his 2011-12 season short and he didn’t go anywhere during the lockout, but this season he had 13 goals and nine assists in 43 games. Very recently, the opening salvo of the 2013 Eastern Conference Final saw him score a goal and put up two assists.
It is not yet known where Horton might go, but here’s a look back at some fine moments from him.
In an early 2013 meeting with the Carolina Hurricanes, he sneaks around two different ‘canes to put one past Cam Ward:
When all three players were healthy and working at their best, the line of Horton, Milan Lucic and David Krejci could work magic together, like in this goal:
Speaking of magic, was there something in this water?
From the infamous Boston-Vancouver rematch, Horton fights Dale Weise while other skirmishes break out around him:
Finally, here’s a fantastic video collection of Horton’s stellar 2011 playoffs to remember him by: