Bruins have options at right wing beyond Horton

Bruins have options at right wing beyond Horton
June 27, 2013, 7:45 pm
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BOSTON – The Bruins clearly intend on re-signing unrestricted free agent Nathan Horton if the conditions are agreeable to both sides, and that’s what the 28-year-old right winger wants as well. He directed all inquiries about his free agency toward his agent, but it’s pretty clear he appreciates the city of Boston, where he established himself as a bona-fide playoff stud.

“I have enjoyed my time here obviously. Two out of three years I’ve been here, we’ve been in the Stanley Cup and we’ve won one time. I said a million times, the guys in the room are amazing. It’s been a lot of fun and I really enjoy everyone and every player on the team,” said Horton. “I’ve always said, like I said, I love the guys. The team is great, and it’s a fun place to play.

“Other than that, I don’t know what’s going to happen. I couldn’t tell you throughout the year that was going to happen, I don’t know and we’ll see what happens.”

According to a source with knowledge of the contract talks, Horton is looking for something in the 5-6 year range, worth $6 million per year. He would seem likely to get that on the free agent market given his youth (28) years old, consistent regular season (25 goals per season) performances over the past nine years and his ability to elevate his game to truly high levels in the postseason. Still, there are other options for the Black and Gold if they can’t clear out the salary cap space for Horton with the salary cap ceiling dropping to $64.3 million next season.

Jarome Iginla and David Clarkson will both be power forward options on the free agent market that could make good fits for the Black and Gold if the cap room can be cleared. The idea of Iginla coming full circle after spurning Boston last season would be particularly intriguing.

Another option potentially opened up on Thursday as well with the announcement that the Tampa Bay Lightning are using a compliance buyout on Vinny Lecavalier, and will be paying him $32 million over the next 14 years. A league source indicated there might be some interest in the 6-foot-4, 208-pound Lecavalier from the Bruins, but more in a role playing on the right wing rather than his established center position.

The 33-year-old Lecavalier had posted 12 straight 20-goal seasons prior to the shortened lockout campaign, and finished with 10 goals and 32 points last year. He told reporters on Thursday that he’s open to playing for any NHL team, and it will come down to finding a destination where he might be able to finish out his career.

“My door is open to everybody. I haven’t really made a list yet. I’m really open to anything,” said Lecavalier. “I haven’t pinpointed anywhere I wanted to go. It’s been five hours (since the buyout) and I’m still not there yet.”

The Bruins haven’t really opened the door for Lecavalier or any other right wings for that matter until things get resolved with Horton. But it’s good to know general manager Peter Chiarelli and the B’s front office have options if they need to start looking.