Leading up to July 5th, the first day of NHL free agency, we will be profiling various free agents that we believe the Predators could or should pursue. Today we continue with Boston Bruins forward Nathan Horton…
Position: Right wing
2012-13 Stats: 43 GP, 13 G, 9 A, 22 PTS, +1
2011-12 Stats: 46 GP, 17 G, 15 A, 32 PTS, +0
Previous contract: 6 years, $24 million
Projected cap number: From $5-6 million
Why the Preds should pursue: Nathan Horton has shown that he can be an effective player on both sides of the ice throughout his career, especially during his time in Boston. He’s also shown that he’s an effective postseason offensive contributor and doesn’t shy away from the big moments. He has six 20-goal seasons on his resume. Horton can bring a physical element to the game but is also a top-six caliber forward, which is something the Predators desperately need. Horton’s style of play really fits into the Predator mold. He would appear to be a good fit for the Predators at the right price.
Why the Preds shouldn’t pursue: Over the past few seasons, Horton has developed a laundry list of injury problems. Outside of his 80-game showing in 2010-11, the most games he has played in the last five seasons is 67. He will be undergoing shoulder surgery this off-season and has had issues with concussions in the past. Despite his age, signing Horton to any type of long-term deal could be a big risk for the Predators because of his injury history. The Preds will also have to determine if a player like Horton is really worth the type of money he’ll likely get on the open market.
Where he would fit: If healthy, Horton would almost certainly step into a top line role with the Predators and really could play in any situation. He could take some pressure off Patric Hornqvist and Filip Forsberg, as they would slide down a line. As the roster is currently constructed, Horton would have a good chance to be Nashville’s most lethal offensive weapon.