While the majority of his charming of the Bruins fans will have to be done with his stick and his skates come fall, newly acquired winger Nathan Horton impressed many today during an introductory conference call when he read off a laundry list of Bruins greats – including Phil Esposito, Gerry Cheevers and his agent Bobby Orr – that he wants to make proud in black and gold.
Horton’s hoping that leaving the instability (five coaches in six seasons) and indifference of South Florida will help him get his NHL career back on track. The No. 3 overall pick in 2003 has seen his goal total decrease from 31 to 27 to 22 to 20 over the last four seasons.
“I think to come to a stable organization, (a) historic (one), I think there’s just such a history with great players … I’m very excited and I think I know I’m going to give it all I’ve got,” said the 25-year-old Horton, who was acquired along with fellow forward Gregory Campbell in exchange for defenseman Dennis Wideman, the No. 15 pick in Friday night’s NHL Entry Draft and Boston’s third-round pick in the 2011 draft.
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli was unavailable for comment today, but he lauded his new acquisition as “a shooter who plays a power game” in a some pool quotes. If there has been one criticism of Horton through his six seasons in the NHL, it has been that his power game can take a hiatus some nights. However, the Bruins need someone to come to town and try to revive their last-ranked offense, and Horton seems to fit the bill. He has the pedigree of a one-time 30-goal scorer and thinks he can return to that level in Boston.
“I think that’s what my goal and I think it’s definitely reachable,” said Horton, who also talked about his excitement of playing with some of the centers that are currently on the Bruins’ roster. “I’m going to try my best and I’m very excited to wear the Bruins crest on my chest. I’m excited to be there and a new opportunity, a new home. I think me and my family are ecstatic right now.”
One thing the Bruins are always looking for is physicality. Horton admitted he has to add more of that to his game and he’s working hard this summer to live up to the expectation of being a two-way, physical force. Campbell, on the other hand, is all about hitting and hard work. That’s how he has carved out an NHL career after being picked in the third round by Florida in 2002.
“When I came into the league, I was a fourth-line energy guy and I had to earn my spot and I got that opportunity from some of the coaches in Florida to work my way up to be a third-line player – whether it be on the wing or center, kill penalties,” said Campbell.
Campbell is a restricted free agent that shouldn’t be difficult to re-sign after he carried a cap hit around $800,000 last season. He could be a perfect fit in the fourth-line center role that should be vacant when the Bruins don’t re-sign Steve Begin.
Horton is signed for three more years at an annual cap hit of $4 million even though a lot of his original contract extension, according to CapGeek.com, involved deferred money the Bruins will now have to fork over in the next three seasons.
Horton has shown he’s knowledgeable when it comes to the greats of Bruins history. Now he has to strive to live up to their standards of work ethic, determination and desire, and live up to the expectations that are being placed on him as a savior for an inept offense.