Throughout the offseason, Bruins Daily will be posting daily report cards on each individual of the 2011-12, Boston Bruins.
In order of jersey number, each player will be highlighted. In today’s edition, we have number 18, Bruins forward Nathan Horton.
Name: Nathan Horton
Weight: 215 lbs.
Contract: Unrestricted Free Agent after 2012-13 season
2011-12 NHL Season stats:
Regular season: 46 GP, 17-15-32, even, 54 PIM, 90 SOG
For the second season in a row Nathan Horton’s season came to an end thanks to an unfortunate concussion. Prior to the concussion Horton was enjoying a decent season where he had 17 goals in 46 games. The Bruins certainly missed Horton in the playoffs as all four losses came by one goal, and we all saw last season how clutch Horton a season ago. Horton is expected to be ready for training camp, but who knows how “gun shy” Horton will be next season after two concussions.
Anthony’s Grade: B-
It was a devastating blow (again) to lose Nathan Horton for the entirety of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs not to mention the second half of the season. Horton was off to a slow start in 2012, but after Head coach Claude Julien called him out for lack of productivity, Horton began to find the back of the net. In only 46 games for the Bruins, Horton scored 17 goals while adding 15 assists for the black and gold. That was good for 32 points. Horton’s lack of physicality early on and knack for the goal is what put him in Julien’s doghouse, but Horton answered the bell and got back on track. It was until he was concussed in a game in Philadelphia that Horton would not see the ice again. It was an outstanding accomplishment winning the Cup’ in 2011 playing without Horton in the Cup’ final, but this year it was too tough. The Bruins needed his toughness and grit in front of the net versus the Capitals. Bruins fans were envisioning Horton spraying the Garden water on the ice again hopefully in the Stanley Cup final for good luck, but this year it was not meant to be. Expect Horton to be back out there with his teammates during training camp. He will bring extreme depth that the Bruins lacked the second half of the year.
Final Grade: B
It’s safe to say that the Bruins could have used Nathan Horton against the Capitals, especially after he scored three game-winners during last year’s Cup run that will live forever in the folklore of the Hub of Hockey. While it took Horton awhile to get back into the swing of things after sustaining a concussion from Aaron Rome during the finals, the ex-Florida Panther was starting to come into his own again after a slow start to the season until a hit from Flyers forward Tim Sestito resulted in yet another concussion forcing him to miss the remainder of the 2011-12 season. Put simply — even if he returns to the ice in 2012-13 — Horton’s health is a major concern going forward and it won’t be surprising if GM Peter Chiarelli is aggressive again this off-season as he looks to bulk up the top-9 forward core.