(Photo Credit: Jim Young/Reuters)

By: Steve McClure | Follow me on Twitter / X @stmcclure1993

It’s 2011 Stanley Cup-champion Nathan Horton’s birthday. The former Bruins’ right-wing turns 39 years old.

Horton, a product of Dunnville, Ontario, came to Boston—along with centerman Gregory Campbell—via a trade with the Florida Panthers for defenseman Dennis Wideman, a 2010 first round pick, and a third round pick in 2011. The 6-2, 229-pound winger had scored 20+ goals for five straight seasons in Florida, and he made an immediate impact in Boston, scoring seven goals and assisting on six others in his first twelve games with the Bruins.

Horton finished the 2010-11 regular season with the second most goals on the club (26) behind linemate Milan Lucic (30), and the Bruins capitalized by winning the Northeast Division with 103 points. His exploits in the playoffs that glorious championship season cemented his legacy in Boston, as he scored eight goals—three of them game-winners—before a Game Three concussion in the Stanley Cup finals prematurely ended his inaugural season. 

Unfortunately, a second concussion occurred in January of the following year, which wiped out Horton’s season, including the Bruins’ attempt to defend their 2011 trophy. The team certainly could have used the sniper’s firepower in a tight-checking round one loss to Washington in seven games. Horton returned in strong fashion in the shortened 2012-13 season, scoring thirteen goals in 43 games, and again played at a high level during the playoffs—producing 7-12-19 in 22 postseason games. His plus/minus was an impressive +20 over the course of the 2013 playoff run. This time, however, the Bruins lost to Chicago in the finals, four games to two. One week later Horton would sign with the Columbus Blue Jackets as a free agent, and a degenerative back injury, for all intents and purposes, would end his playing career one year later.

Nathan Horton’s tenure with the Boston Bruins was a short but memorable one. In three years with the organization, the Bruins reached the finals twice—winning the Stanley Cup in 2011. Similarly, his NHL career was snuffed-out far too quickly. He scored 203 goals and accumulated 421 points in his 627-game NHL career. Happy 39th birthday, Nathan!