Saturday, February 16, 2013

2013 NHL Free Agents - Nathan Horton

Nathan Horton has garnered a reputation for being "clutch" with the Boston Bruins.  The 27 year-old is in the final year of a 6 year deal worth $24 million, according to capgeek.com, which began with the Florida Panthers.

The top-line winger has an active 14.8% shooting percentage, which is among the best in the NHL.  See his full NHL career stats as of this post date here:
Season Age Tm GP G A PTS +/- PP S S% ATOI
2003-04 18 FLA 55 14 8 22 -5 6 81 17.3 13:20
2005-06 20 FLA 71 28 19 47 8 3 162 17.3 16:53
2006-07 21 FLA 82 31 31 62 15 7 217 14.3 18:04
2007-08 22 FLA 82 27 35 62 15 9 212 12.7 18:44
2008-09 23 FLA 67 22 23 45 -5 5 131 16.8 17:51
2009-10 24 FLA 65 20 37 57 -1 7 159 12.6 20:53
2010-11 25 BOS 80 26 27 53 29 6 188 13.8 16:17
2011-12 26 BOS 46 17 15 32 0 6 90 18.9 15:56
2012-13 27 BOS 12 4 3 7 2 0 33 12.1 18:30
Career 560 189 198 387 58 49 1273 14.8 17:26
Provided by Hockey-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/16/2013.

Horton has fought back admirably from a concussion suffered last season, and has proven a valuable offensive asset.  With Horton's strong contributions, and a lower salary cap next season, there is speculation that it may be difficult for Boston to retain Horton.

According to an article by Bud Barth at telegram.com:
Horton is in the final year of his $4 million-a-year contract, and there’s rampant speculation that if he has a good season, he’ll price himself right out of Boston. The salary cap will go down drastically next season, which would make it difficult to re-sign Horton anyway. Besides, the Bruins also have to worry about negotiating new deals with goalie Tuukka Rask and defenseman Andrew Ference

Outlook 
We'll see what the remainder of the season brings, as far as the Bruins' playoff chances and Horton's play.  But, it does look like it will be hard for Boston to re-sign Horton, with a projected $7.1 million of available cap space for 2013-14 according to capgeek.  If Boston falls out of the playoff race, which is not likely, the Bruins would likely try to move Horton to a playoff contender.   If they are set for a playoff run, Boston will keep Horton, and try to re-sign him for 2013-14 and beyond.  They just may not have the available funds under the cap to afford Horton, unless they make some other trades to lower their payroll a bit.  

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