The Bruins have acquired Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell from Florida for Dennis Wideman, the No. 15 pick in Friday’s draft, and a 2011 third-round pick.
“I want to be more physical and just all around be a better player,” Horton said during a conference call. “I think I have more to give. I’ll be working pretty hard this summer. I want to come in the best shape. I think I’m just excited for a change. It’s going to be great. I think it’s going to work out good.”
The 25-year-old Horton has three years remaining on his current deal, which pays him an annual $4 million. Horton, the No. 3 pick in the once-in-a-generation 2003 draft, scored 20 goals and 37 assists in 65 games in 2009-10. Upon the arrival of new GM Dale Tallon, the 6-foot-2, 229-pound Horton, who has a reputation for a less-than-stellar work ethic, was considered expendable after asking to be traded.
“He showed frustration and felt maybe it would be better if he was able to go somewhere else,” Tallon said during a conference call.
However, the Bruins are hopeful that under Claude Julien’s firm hand, Horton could rebound in Boston. Horton scored a career-high 31 goals in 2006-07.
“If he wasn’t given the right direction and right environment before, he could get 35 goals with this coach,” said an NHL source. “Their style might fit him. With these big-body kids that get sent elsewhere, they blossom.”
When he’s on his game, Horton is a heavy, hard-to-play-against, shoot-first right wing. Horton projects to be a top-six forward who could lift up the Boston attack, which was the worst in the NHL in 2009-10. With their salaries being a wash, it looks unlikely that Michael Ryder (one year at $4 million) will be back in 2010-11.
“Nathan is big, powerful, young man,” GM Peter Chiarelli said in a statement. “He is 25 years old, has scored over 30 goals once, and over 20 goals in five consecutive seasons. He is a shooter who plays a power game.”
Wideman has two years and $7.75 million remaining on his current deal. After an excellent 2008-09 when he scored 13 goals and 37 assists, Wideman struggled with his consistency this past season, when he recorded six goals and 24 assists. For all his 2009-10 hiccups, Wideman was a valuable puck-moving defenseman who played big minutes. Wideman led the Bruins in scoring during the playoffs with one goal and 11 assists.
Wideman was originally acquired from St. Louis for Brad Boyes at the 2007 trade deadline.
“Dennis had a terrific three years in Boston,” Chiarelli said. “He hit a couple of bumps along the way this past year. This happens sometimes with skilled players and their confidence. He rebounded to be one of our best players in the stretch run and in the playoffs. He is a clutch competitor and is one of the best passers in the game. I wish Dennis the best of luck in Florida.”
With Wideman departing, the deal indicates the Bruins’ faith in Johnny Boychuk (unrestricted) and Mark Stuart (restricted), who remain unsigned.
In 60 games, Gregory Campbell scored two goals and 15 assists. Campbell, the son of NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell, is considered a bottom-six forward who can kill penalties and play an energy role. Campbell, a restricted free agent, could replace Steve Begin on the fourth line.
TSN first reported the trade.