Unrestricted free-agent forward Nathan Horton has agreed to terms on a contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets, the team announced on Friday. The financial terms of the agreement have not been made available at the time of this writing, but the Blue Jackets announced it is a seven-year deal.
Horton spent the last three seasons as a member of the Boston Bruins. Playing on the club's top-line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic, Horton was a key contributor on the franchise's two Eastern Conference Championship teams and scored the game-winning goal in Game 7 of the 2011 Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning to advance to the Stanley Cup Final. The Bruins ultimately won the Cup that season.
Despite an interest from the Bruins to retain Horton, the 28-year-old forward informed management that he wished to move on. Based upon reports, it's believed that Horton is looking for a quieter lifestyle in a non-traditional market. That certainly seems like a realistic component to playing in Columbus.
Of course, the Blue Jackets are also in the beginning stages of a restructuring that appears to have a bright future. This is a club that nearly made the playoffs in 2013 and has a legitimate shot to do so in 2013-14. With Horton on the club, the prospects of doing so improve. The club expressed a desire to acquire a scoring forward this offseason, which is an area Horton should help improve.
Given the shoulder subluxation he sustained near the end of the regular season, Horton is expected to require surgery this summer. It remains to be seen what kind of impact this potentially has on future performance. Regardless, it is worth noting.
Originally selected with the No. 3 overall selection by the Florida Panthers in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, Horton has played in 591 career games and has accumulated 402 points (198 goals and 204 assists).