The rumblings were true: The Boston Bruins wanted Florida Panthers forward Nathan Horton(notes), and they've acquired him and left winger Gregory Campbell(notes) for defenseman Dennis Wideman(notes), the No. 15 overall pick in Friday's NHL draft and another pick. TSN broke the trade and terms.
Key word: "Forward." Horton is listed as a center but can also play right wing, so he's not going to contribute to the overload at the pivot the Bruins already have, and that's before drafting what's expected to be Tyler Seguin at No. 2 overall.
Horton's value has always been in his potential to become a star when rescued from Florida. When he played 82 games, as he did from 2006-08, he posted 62 points twice and 31 goals once for a Florida Panthers team that missed the postseason. He's averaged just 66 games in the last two seasons, but his points-per-game average last season (0.88) was actually the highest of his career — and he's only 25.
Plus, he wanted out of Florida, as George Richards reported.
To say Wideman regressed after his breakout, plus-32 year in 2008-09 would be kind. He was actually awful at times, the fans turned on him and he played without confidence during the year. It's a welcome change for him, and Florida general manager Dale Tallon adds a puck-moving, top-pairing defenseman.
Financially, Horton ($4 million) and Wideman ($3.97 million) are nearly a wash against the cap next year (via Cap Geek), although Wideman was two years away from UFA status while Horton is three. Campbell is a restricted free agent. (And hey, no more Colin Campbell Wheel of Justice for Boston if they sign his son; he recused himself in Florida.)
The move does leave a bit of a hole on the Bruins blue line, and we're sure we're not the first to suggest that the Tomas Kaberle(notes) courtship we saw from the Bruins last summer could logically be rekindled. They have NHL-level forwards, and the Toronto Maple Leafs are looking for them.