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Nathan Horton
Born May 29, 1985 (1985-05-29) (age 37)
Welland, Ontario, Canada
Height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight 229 lb (104 kg; 16 st 5 lb)
Position Right Wing
Shoots Right
NHL team
Former teams
Columbus Blue Jackets
Florida Panthers
Boston Bruins
NHL Draft 3rd overall, 2003
Florida Panthers
Playing career 2003–present

Nathan Horton (born on May 29, 1985) is a Canadian professional ice hockey winger who currently plays for the Columbus Blue Jackets of the National Hockey League (NHL).

During his career, Nathan has also played for the Florida Panthers, the Boston Bruins, the Thorold Blackhawks (of the GHJHL), the Oshawa Generals (of the OHL) and the San Antonio Rampage (of the AHL). During two seasons with Oshawa, Norton scored 64 goals and recorded 71 assists.

Following his time with Oshawa, Nathan was drafted by the Florida Panthers and spent his first professional season playing for the team, however, during what would be his second season, the NHL cancelled the season which caused him to find another team to play for.

Instead of going to Europe as many other NHL players had, Nathan joined the Panthers' AHL affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage. In an injury shortened season, he played in 21 games for the Rampage.

Playing Career[]

Minor Hockey Career[]

Nathan played much of his minor hockey with the Welland Tigers of the OMHA South Central AAA League until his Minor Peewee year before making the move to play in the Greater Toronto Hockey League with the Toronto Red Wings.

Going into his Peewee season, Nathan left the Red Wings to go play for the Thorold Blackhawks Jr.B. club of the OHA's Golden Horseshoe League when he was 13 years old.

For much of his career with Welland, Nathan played up on the "'84" Tigers team with future NHL'ers Daniel Girardi, Daniel Paille (former Bruins teammate) and Andre Deveaux.

Junior Hockey Career[]

Nathan first entered junior hockey as a player for the Thorold Blackhawks. In one season with Thorold, he scored 16 goals and registered 31 assists in 41 games.

Prior to the 2001 OHL Draft, 16–year old Nathan stated that if he was drafted first overall by the Mississauga Ice Dogs, he would not report to the team.

Nathan was instead selected second overall in the draft by the Oshawa Generals. As a rookie in the OHL, he totaled 31 goals and 36 assists in 64 games for the Generals.

To begin the 2002–03 season, nathan missed 13 games out of 22, but he still ended up scoring 9 goals with 18 points during that span.

Nathan was named to the Canadian national junior team's selection camp in December, but he was one of the first cuts. He ended his final season in Oshawa with 33 goals and 35 assists in 54 games.

2003 NHL Entry Draft[]

In January of 2002, Nathan (along with Patrick O'Sullivan and Kevin Klein, was regarded as a top prospect from the OHL for the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

Eleven months later in December, he was called "an almost sure-fire top five pick" by USA Today. Midway through the 2002–03 season, he was regarded as a top-five North American prospect by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau.

Scouts likened Nathan, who considered him a "power forward" to John LeClair who was considered to be one of the best power forwards in the NHL, however, he stated that he saw himself to be more like Jeremy Roenick or Peter Forsberg, both of whom were faster than LeClair.

The Florida Panthers, who originally held the first overall pick but traded it to the Pittsburgh Penguins, selected Nathan with the third overall pick. Goaltender Marc-André Fleury (Pittsburgh) and centre Eric Staal (Carolina) were selected before him.

Florida Panthers[]

On October 6, 2003, Nathan signed with the Panthers on October 6, 2003. After his signing, Panthers coach Mike Keenan compared Horton to future New York Rangers Hall of Famer Mark Messier.

On October 24, 2003 in a game against the Minnesota Wild, he recorded his first career point with an assist on an Ivan Novoseltsev goal.

On November 1, 2003, Nathan recorded his first career goal against the San Jose Sharks. In the next game for the Panthers against the Los Angeles Kings, he scored his second goal in as many games.

On January 9, 2004, Nathan became the first rookie in NHL history to record a goal on a penalty shot, scoring against Philadelphia Flyers goalie Jeff Hackett.

Three seasons later on October 22, 2006, Penguins rookie Jordan Staal matched the feat and surpassed Nathan as the youngest player to score; Staal was 183 days younger than Nathan was when he scored.

Four days after his penalty shot goal, Nathan suffered a torn rotator cuff and labrum which would potentially end his season. At the time, he was third on the Panthers with 10 goals.

Following an examination by surgeon Tony Miniaci, Nathan was told that he could rehabilitate naturally and did not require surgery on his shoulder.

Nathan returned to the Panthers in early March and scored in one of his first games back against the Tampa Bay Lightning, however, his shoulder troubles continued and it was determined that surgery was required. He ended his rookie campaign with 14 goals and 8 assists in 55 games.

The 2004–05 NHL season ended up being locked out which forced Nathan and other players to sign with other teams.

He eventually signed with the Panthers' AHL affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage after a controversy ensued as to whether junior hockey eligible players such as Horton were obligated to return to their junior teams.

Despite not signing with the Rampage until October 29, 2004, Nathan still participated in their training camp.

Seven minutes into his second AHL game, Nathan scored his first goal of the season. He recorded his first career AHL assist on a Gregory Campbell goal.

On December 3, 2004, against the Houston Aeros, Nathan scored both of the Rampage's goals to help the team win in overtime.

For the second straight season, the Panthers did not allow Nathan to play for the Canadian national junior team. He and Houston Aeros defenceman Brent Burns were the only two players not allowed to play for the team.

Days before the announcement that Nathan would not play for Team Canada, he suffered another shoulder injury which allegedly played into the Panthers' decision.

Nathan suffered the shoulder injury in a fight in December and missed 14 games. He was informed he would again have to undergo surgery. In 21 games for San Antonio, Horton scored 5 goals and recorded 4 assists.

Entering the 2005–06 season, Nathan stated in response to a question about his shoulders, "I feel better. I feel stronger, bigger." In the season opener against the Atlanta Thrashers, Horton scored the first goal for the Panthers.

Through the first games of the season, Nathan was tied for the team lead in goals. On November 8, 2005, he was placed on injured reserve because of a knee injury. He was activated on December 1st and scored in his first game back against the Washington Capitals to help the Panthers win 3–2.

Nathan added 2 goals against the Chicago Blackhawks in the Panthers' next game to bring his season total to 10 in 17 games.

Against the Nashville Predators on December 13th, Nathan recorded his first career hat trick and stated after the game that, "It's a pretty nice feeling. I felt like there was no one on me. I just tried to get it to the net and it went in every time."

Despite missing 10 games to injury, Nathan was tied with teammate Olli Jokinen for the team lead in goals with 16 after 38 games.

Against Washington on January 9th, he and Joe Nieuwendyk scored a goal in the shootout to help the Panthers win 4–3. Two days after his shootout goal, Nathan was promoted to the Panthers' first line.

Despite his promotion to the first line, Nathan's name was mentioned in a potential trade with the Vancouver Canucks; however, nothing materialized.

In a 6–2 win over the Ottawa Senators, Nathan scored 2 goals including one on a rebound, after which he said, "It just popped right out to me. It was a long time coming for goals for me. I got lucky tonight and hopefully they keep going in."

In March, Nathan began playing in penalty kill situations for the first time in his career. Also against the Lightning, he scored the Panthers' only goal with his 27th goal of the season.

Nathan completed the season playing 71 games, scoring 28 goals and adding 19 assists.

Following the 2005–06 season, Nathan's rookie contract expired. He was re-signed by Florida on July 12, 2006, to a one-year, $1.1 million contract.

Against the Boston Bruins, he scored his first goal of the season to help the Panthers win 8–3.

On October 18, 2006, Nathan scored his third goal of the season in a 5–2 loss against the Washington Capitals, who the Panthers had not lost to in regulation since the 2004–05 season.

After Nathan was called for a second-period penalty against Atlanta, coach Jacques Martin demoted him to the fourth line in an attempt to send a message to him.

Before long, however, Nathan was again promoted to the first line with Finnish players Olli Jokinen and Ville Peltonen. They gave Horton the name "Nathan Hortonen" in an attempt to make his name Finnish.

Against the Montreal Canadiens on November 16th, Nathan assisted on all goals that Jokinen recorded. Against Tampa Bay on February 17th, he scored the game-winning goal for Florida, 29 seconds into overtime.

For the second straight season, his name was brought up in trade offers; however Canadian sports writer, Bruce Garrioch called it "doubtful" that Nathan would be traded despite Horton being unhappy playing in Florida.

Against Tampa Bay on March 28th, Nathan scored two goals, which brought his season total for goals against the Lightning up to 8.

In the Panthers' next game against the Lightning, Nathan had 1 goal which made it 9 goals and 3 assists for him against Tampa Bay in the 2006–07 season.

The goal also gave Nathan his career-high 31st goal on the season. He ended the season with 31 goals and 31 assists in 82 games.

On June 21, 2007, Nathan re-signed with the Panthers on June 21, 2007 to a six-year, US$24 million contract despite previous rumours he would not.

Through seven games for the Panthers to open the 2007–08 NHL season, Nathan recorded 3 goals and 3 assists, during which he had a four-game point streak.

Nathan scored the only goal for the Panthers in a 2–1 loss against the Carolina Hurricanes on November 18th

Against the Washington Capitals on November 28, Horton along with teammates Olli Jokinen, Kamil Kreps and Stephen Weiss scored shootout goals to help Florida win the game.

For the first time since March of 2007, Nathan scored 2 goals in a game to help the Panthers win over the Atlanta Thrashers on December 28th.

Nathan and linemate David Booth combined for three goals against the New York Islanders, of which he scored two.

On January 22, 2008 in the Panthers' 5–3 win over the Ottawa Senators, Nathan recorded 4 assists which was a career–high.

He scored against Vancouver Canucks goalie and former Panther Roberto Luongo in a shootout to help the Panthers win 4–3, giving them their first win over Vancouver since 1999.

Nathan scored a goal against the Washington Capitals to help Florida win 4–2 in the game after Richard Zednik suffered a neck injury in which he had his external carotid artery cut by a skate.

Twenty-two seconds into overtime against the Boston Bruins on March 5, Nathan scored to give the Panthers a 1–0 victory.

Four days later on March 9th, Nathan scored again in overtime with 23 seconds left, causing the Miami Herald to nickname him the "King of Overtime". On April 5th, he scored his 100th career goal.

Prior to the start of the 2008–09 NHL season, Panthers head coach Peter DeBoer, who first saw Norton play at seven years old, said about his hopes for Horton, "If I'm looking for guys to do more, he wouldn't be at the top of the list. If he can give us 30-plus, I'd be happy with Nathan. There's a group of guys underneath him that I think can make a lot bigger jumps than I need out of Nathan Horton goal-wise."

Nathan was also moved from his position of right wing to centre before the season. After playing a few games at centre, Nathan said, "It's not as easy as wing. You can play wing and all you have to concentrate on is getting the puck and shooting it. At center, you have more responsibilities."

In a game against the Nashville Predators on November 1st, Nathan played in his 300th career game, but failed to record a point. On November 26th, he suffered a deep cut in his leg after it was stepped on by a skate.

At the time of the injury, Nathan had 6 goals and 7 assists. In early December, the Ottawa Sun reported that the Panthers might have been looking to trade Horton after he was reportedly unhappy playing for the team.

Nathan returned to the lineup on December 17th after missing eight games. After the game, he commented, "I'm excited to play. It's kind of a different Panthers team than the past. It's really changed in a matter of a month. Things are going good now, and everybody's really buying into what Pete has been telling us all year."

On January 17th, Nathan recorded 3 assists to help the Panthers defeat Tampa Bay, 4–3. For the second time during the season, his name came up in trade rumours, this time with the Chicago Blackhawks.

In early March, days after the trade deadline, Nathan suffered a finger injury that forced him to have surgery. He returned to the lineup on March 23rd, recording an assist in a Panthers loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.

He ended the season with 22 goals and 23 assists in 67 games.

Boston Bruins[]

On June 22, 2010, Nathan was traded to the Boston Bruins along with Gregory Campbell for Dennis Wideman, the Bruins first round pick (15th overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and third round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

Nathan got off to a great start in his first season in Boston with seven goals and six assists, including a six game point streak, in the first 12 games of the season. He finished second on the team in goals and fourth in assists.

During the first round of the 2011 NHL playoffs, Horton scored a game-winning overtime goal for the Bruins in both games five and seven to help the Bruins win the series over the Montreal Canadiens.

A third period goal by Horton against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the only goal of game 7, later sent the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Finals.

In game three of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, Nathan was hit with late check to the head by Vancouver Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome.

Rome received a five-minute major for interference and a game misconduct. Nathan seemed concussed and unresponsive as he was carried out on a stretcher and put into an ambulance. He was moving all his extremities in the ambulance.

Nathan was later diagnosed with a severe concussion and missed the remainder of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals. Rome was suspended for 4 games following the hit.

The NHL stated that if the series were to be completed in fewer than seven games, then any remaining games on the suspension would be served at the start of the following season.

Although Nathan missed the remainder of the finals, the Bruins went on to win the series in game seven, and he hoisted the Stanley Cup in Vancouver on June 15.

This was arguably the turning point in the series as the Bruins would go on to win 4 of the next 5 games, and score 21 of the next 25 goals after the hit.

On January 2, 2012, Nathan sustained another concussion, this time from Philadelphia Flyers forward Tom Sestito. He would not return for the remainder of the season or for the playoffs.

During the 2012-13 NHL lockout, Nathan did not play for another team and made his 2013 season debut for the Bruins on January 19, 2013, opening night against the New York Rangers.

On the day of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Nathan's representatives confirmed that he had informed Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli that he would not be resigning with Boston.

Columbus Blue Jackets[]

On July 5, 2013, Nathan signed a seven-year free agent contract worth $37.1 million with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Career Statistics[]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1999–00 Welland Tigers OMHA 44 41 51 92 34
2000–01 Thorold Blackhawks GHJHL 41 16 31 47 75
2001–02 Oshawa Generals OHL 64 31 36 67 84 5 1 2 3 10
2002–03 Oshawa Generals OHL 54 33 35 68 111 13 9 6 15 10
2003–04 Florida Panthers NHL 55 14 8 22 57
2004–05 San Antonio Rampage AHL 21 5 4 9 21
2005–06 Florida Panthers NHL 71 28 19 47 89
2006–07 Florida Panthers NHL 82 31 31 62 61
2007–08 Florida Panthers NHL 82 27 35 62 85
2008–09 Florida Panthers NHL 67 22 23 45 48
2009–10 Florida Panthers NHL 65 20 37 57 42
2010–11 Boston Bruins NHL 80 26 27 53 85 21 8 9 17 35
2011–12 Boston Bruins NHL 46 17 15 32 54
2012–13 Boston Bruins NHL 43 13 9 22 22 22 7 12 19 14
NHL totals 591 198 204 402 543 43 15 21 36 49

Awards & Achievements[]

OHL Awards[]

  • OHL All-Rookie Team (2001-02)

NHL Awards[]

  • Stanley Cup (2010-11)

Personal Life[]

On July 7, 2007, Nathan married Canadian model Tammy Plante who is the great-niece of NHL goaltending great Jacques Plante. They have two sons named Dylan and Zachary.