Horton/By S. Bradley

TheBruinsBlog.net looks back at the top 10 Bruins moments of calendar year 2010.

After finishing last in the entire NHL in goal-scoring but still reaching the second round of the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli had a mandate: improve his club’s offense.

There were several scoring forwards rumored to be available, including Florida’s Nathan Horton. Although there were some doubts about whether the Panthers would make one of their franchise players available, those were erased when Horton asked new Florida general manager Dale Tallon for a trade.

On June 22, 2010, the Bruins seemingly found their man. They swung a deal with the Panthers that landed Horton, a five-time 20-goal-scorer, and grinder Gregory Campbell, in exchange for struggling defenseman Dennis Wideman, Boston’s own 2010 first-round pick and a 2011 third-round pick.

“Nathan is a big, powerful, young man,’’ Chiarelli said after the deal. “He is 25 years old, has scored over 30 goals once, and over 20 goals in five consecutive seasons. He is a shooter who plays a power game.’’

The knock on Horton was his tendency to not play with passion on an every-night basis. Many pointed to the difficulty that comes with playing in front of a near-empty arena in South Florida as the main source of his disinterest. Horton said after the trade he was ready to disprove his critics and once again reach 30 goals.

“I think that’s what my goal is and I think it’s definitely reachable,” said Horton. “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.”

From the time he arrived for training camp with the Bruins, Horton started smiling. And he got out of the gates fast on the ice with five goals in his first six games.

Here’s a look at his first goal with the Bruins:

As the 2010-11 season unfolded, Horton showed the streakiness that comes with most goal-scorers, and we won’t be able to declare his acquisition by Chiarelli an absolute win until we see how he performs over the course of a full season.

But in terms of addressing a need and rebuilding confidence in the fan base coming off the Bruins’ historic postseason collapse, Chiarelli’s trade for Horton was a step in the right direction.