NHL free agency 2013: Nathan Horton will not return to Bruins, according to agent

Elsa

The Bruins will have to find a replacement for Nathan Horton, who has informed the team that he will not return next season.

Nathan Horton will leave the Boston Bruins this summer, according to his agent. The unrestricted free agent has told the team that he does not intend to return and will look elsewhere for a team to sign with next season.

Horton was traded from the Panthers to the Bruins in 2010 and played out the remainder of his six-year, $24 million deal in Boston. Horton helped the Bruins win the Stanley Cup in 2011 and, though he struggled in the 2013 regular season while notching just 22 points, he had seven goals and 12 assists in 22 playoff games as Boston returned to the Final.

The 28-year-old earned $5.5 million in 2013 and will likely hope to get at least that much in his new deal, though the cap-strapped Bruins seemed unlikely to sign him after the regular season. The postseason proved how valuable he can be to the team when he is playing well, though, likely piqued their interest in bringing him back. They apparently will not have that opportunity, however.

In addition to hunting for a new team this summer, Horton will also undergo shoulder surgery. He injured his shoulder in a regular season fight with Jerome Iginla and then re-injured it in the first game of the Stanley Cup Final. The operation will either tighten or repair the ligaments and could leave Horton sidelined for six months, potentially ruling him out for the start of the 2013-14 season.

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