By Art Martone
The Bruins' offseason makeover began Tuesday afternoon, as the team traded defenseman Dennis Wideman and two draft choices -- its own first-round choice (the 15th overall selection) this year and a No. 3 next year -- to the Florida Panthers for forwards Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell.
Horton, a 25-year-old center, was the third overall selection in the 2003 draft and has scored 142 goals in six NHL seasons. His career high in a season is 31 (in 2006-07), and he's scored 20 or more in each of the last five years. Last season he had 20 goals and 37 assists in 65 games.
He is the jewel of the deal, as far as the Bruins are concerned.
"Nathan is big, powerful, young man," general manager 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."
Horton will earn 4 million for each of the next three seasons.
In a conference call, new Florida general manager Dale Tallon said that Horton had asked for a trade.
"Obviously he was frustrated with what has gone on in the past and wanted to know if we could help him out to see what is out there forhim," Tallon said. "That's how this all began. He showed frustrationand felt it would maybe be better if he was able to go somewhere else.
"I said in my introductory press conference that players want to be here will behere and players that want to play elsewhere will play elsewhere.That's what is going to happen here."
Campbell -- the son of NHL discipline chief Colin Campbell -- is a 26-year-old center who is a restricted free agent. His best year was 2008-09, when we went 13-19-32 in 77 games. He slumped to 2 goals and 15 assists in 60 games last year.
"Gregory is a hard-nosed, smart, two-way player," said Chiarelli. "He is strong in his zone and can play a variety of roles."
Wideman's disappointing 2009-10 season in Boston has been well-chronicled, and both Chiarelli and Tallon say a change of scenery may be what the veteran defenseman needs.
"Dennis had a terrific three years in Boston," said Chiarelli. "He hit a couple of bumps along the way this past year. This happens sometimes with skill 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."
"I think he was frustrated early in the year, lost some of his minutes and probably tried to do too much," said Tallon. "But he bounced back after the trading deadline and had a good finish to the season and an outstanding plauoff.
"He'll get plenty of ice time in Florida and spark the power play."
Tallon said he tried to acquire the second overall pick from the Bruins, but was rebuffed.
"There had been discussions, yes there were, but they were adamant on keeping it," he said.
Art Martone can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.