Nathan Horton missed the final 36 games of the regular season with a concussion, and it was clear the Bruins missed him offensively in a big, big way.
Boston was never truly the same without their top line right winger, and finished with an 18-16-2 record after his Jan. 21 concussion suffered against the Flyers. The Bruins averaged only 2.67 goals per game during that span of 36 games and never truly recovered their dominant level of play achieved with Horton in November and December.
So it can only be taken as good news Horton is coming along well in his recovery from a concussion during the offseason. Horton was shut down at the start of the playoffs when his post-concussion symptoms hadnt completely subsided after the blind side hit from Tom Sestito.
But the Bruins ended the playoffs with Bs general manager Peter Chiarelli voicing expectation that Bostons Game 7 playoff hero would be ready to go for September training camp.
Hortons agent, Paul Krepelka, told CSNNE.com that the goal-scoring forward is still on track for a healthy start to next season with three more full months of rest and recovery still in front of him.
Nathan is coming along, wrote Krepelka in a text message while keeping tabs with his client this offseason. We would hope he is good to go at the start of training camp.
With Rich Peverley forced to take Hortons spot alongside Milan Lucic and David Krejci during the playoffs, it effectively weakened both the first and third line for a team that had succeeded with depth during last years Cup run.
A healthy Horton could make all the difference for the Bruins in a free agent contract year where the 27-year-old will be motivated to prove hes healthy and ready to resume his productive combination of power and skill.
CHICAGO – Don Sweeney said the Bruins knew and expected they were going to lose one of three players in the NHL expansion draft, and it’s pretty clear it was going to be Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller or Colin Miller leaving the team. The B’s took Kevan Miller out of the equation by leaving him on the protection list after a strong season while also playing some of his best hockey in the playoffs.
That left McQuaid and Miller with each of the two D-men standing an equal chance of getting selected by the Vegas Golden Knights, and the 24-year-old puck-moving Miller going to Vegas for the time being. It remains to be seen if Miller sticks with the Golden Knights, or if there is an eventual plan to flip him elsewhere like perhaps an interested party in Toronto.
Sweeney said the Bruins didn’t want to lose a player with potential like Miller, but it’s also true that he would have been stuck behind younger, better D-men on the depth chart with Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo as better right-handed options.
“It was an interesting process to go through. It was hard at times because you felt like other teams were able to find deals to keep their team together while you felt vulnerable in that regard,” said Sweeney at the B’s team hotel in Chicago during a Thursday availability with the media. “You knew you were going to lose a good player. You knew they had targeted three players on our team that we felt they would target, and unfortunately we’re losing a good, young player.
“We thought highly of Colin. He was part of a big trade for us and we wish him well moving forward. We thank for him doing his part with the organization. We lost a good player.”
Clearly, the Bruins lost a defenseman with skills and youth on his side, but it’s also a young guy that hasn’t put it all together yet while never posting more than 16 points in each of his two seasons with the Black and Gold. Perhaps he will put together the offensive package at his next landing spot after showing flashes in Boston over the last two years, but that unknown factor while no longer being considered a prospect is the reason he didn’t find himself on the protected D list along with Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug.
The Bruins released their schedule for the 2017-18 season Thursday, with their campaign beginning at TD Garden on Oct. 5 against the Predators.
Two things stand out in Boston’s schedule. Eleven of their final 15 games are on the road, and they don’t play the Canadiens until mid-January.
Then, when the B’s and Habs do finally meet, they play three times in an eight-day span. The rivals face each other Jan. 13 in Montreal, Jan. 17 in Boston and Jan. 20 in Montreal. The Bruins’ final regular-season meeting with the Habs is March 3.
To see the full schedule, click here.