NHL free agency: Nathan Horton signs with Columbus Blue Jackets

July 5, 2013 – 4:19 pm by Ryan Phillips

Nathan Horton

Fresh off helping lead the Boston Bruins to the Stanley Cup finals, Nathan Horton has cashed in. The right winger has agreed to a seven-year, $37.1 million deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets, with $30 million of that money coming in the contract’s first five years.

The Blue Jackets needed to find a spark for their lagging offense this offseason and they clearly think the 28-year-old Horton can be a big key to doing that. He still has to undergo offseason shoulder surgery, and that will likely delay the start of his season. Still he should be a big help when he’s finally healthy and on the ice.

Horton just finished his ninth NHL season, and had 13 goals and nine assists in 43 games for the Bruins during the 2012-13 regular season. Those 13 goals were a career-low for him and his 22 points actually tied a career-low.

His best season came in 2006-07 with the Florida Panthers when he scored 31 goals and notched 31 assists, finishing the season with a plus-15 rating. In 2010-11 with the Bruins he totaled 53 points and had a career-best plus-29 rating.

Horton stepped it up in the playoffs for the Bruins this year though, scoring seven goals and racking up 12 assists while checking in with a plus-20 rating. That performance almost assuredly led to the deal Columbus gave him.

Horton had the following to say about his new team:

“This is a team on the rise with great players and I’m looking forward to being a part of it. We felt at home as soon as we visited here and it was pretty clear to us that this is where we wanted to live. This is a great fit for me and my family.”

The Blue Jackets finished 25th in the NHL in goals last season and Horton has averaged 23 goals in his past eight seasons. Columbus is hoping he can get back to his high-scoring ways.

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