When Nathan Horton made the decision to leave the Boston Bruins, it was motivated by a desire to seek a new beginning in a quieter market, possibly one with better weather. By signing with the Columbus Blue Jackets for seven years, he might not get that always-great weather that he may have imagined (Columbus’ climate is described as featuring “hot, muggy summers and cold, dry winters,” though with light snowfall), but he will get a quieter market–though one that just missed making the playoffs by a hair and is surely gunning to take another shot at the postseason.
However, it’s going to be a while before his new team gets to see him on the ice. He needs shoulder surgery, the lone Bruin after this season to need any procedures, and that will keep him off the ice until at least December. That’s on top of the past injury issues he has had, which could present problems for Columbus down the road.
His new contract is rather heavy on the front end, featuring a $30 million pay day in the first five years of the deal. The total value is $37.1 million over the life of the deal, a $5.3 million cap hit each year. This is one of Columbus’ longest-ever contracts. In fact, only Rick Nash was able to draw a longer tenure.
The Blue Jackets were extremely interested in Horton’s services. They brought him in for a visit this week so he could tour the city, which is a nice place, featuring the various cultural draws of a university presence (Ohio State University), a nice arena and surrounding area, the proximity of water and Tim Hortons locations should he or his family ever get a hankering for some Timbits and a double-double.
Like Andrew Ference going to a Western Conference team (remember, Columbus is moving east now) that has been outside the playoff picture for a while now, Horton’s experience with going deep in the playoffs and winning it all will be quite valuable to his new teammates. Some of them, including Jack Johnson and Cam Atkinson, are already welcoming him to the squad via Twitter.
Horton has been introduced as a member of his new team, where he will drop the 1 from his player number and wear 8. Why so? Well, as he explains it, when you turn 8 on it side, it means forever. Which is what it might feel like before he does finally play for the Blue Jackets because he might be out for up to six months as he recovers from shoulder surgery. In all likelihood, it will be less than the full six months, but that’s still something his new team must consider.