Columbus Blue Jackets sign Nathan Horton
For the Columbus Blue Jackets, it’s been one of the busiest weeks in franchise history.
On Sunday, the team made three first-round selections, selecting forwards Alexander Wennberg, Kerby Rychel and Marko Dano to stockpile their farm system. Monday, they re-signed their franchise goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. And today, in the opening hours of free agency, they were able to nab power forward Nathan Horton, who TSN had rated as their No. 3 unrestricted free agent.
Horton agreed to a seven-year contract that pays him $37.1 million, reports USA Today. He will receive $30 million in the first five years.
“I am very excited and proud to be a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets. This is a team on the rise with great players and I’m looking forward to being a part of it,” Horton said in a press release, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
“Nathan Horton was the player we identified as a perfect fit for the Columbus Blue Jackets… He is an elite power forward who brings size, skill and a great desire to compete to our lineup,” Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekäläinen added.
Horton is coming off a strong postseason showing with the Boston Bruins, posting 19 points and a league-leading plus-20 rating, as Boston made it to the Stanley Cup Final before bowing out to Chicago in six games. He was a key part of Boston’s 2011 Stanley Cup Championship team.
One downfall to the signing is that Horton may miss the first couple months of the season, requiring surgery to a separated shoulder he suffered during the Final, according to The Boston Globe.
Nevertheless, the signing of Horton brings an end to an eventful week for Columbus. The team will make the switch to the Eastern Conference next year as part of realignment, and will rely on Horton’s experience to help the team win their first postseason game in franchise history.