The myriad rumors and buildup were not a surprise, but now that the hammer has dropped on Nathan Horton's time in Sunrise, it's difficult to imagine - due to sheer repetitiveness - the Panthers opening training camp without him. Same could be said for fellow longtimer (and soon to be RFA) Gregory Campbell, who put in the lion's share of six seasons as well. Both were drafted by the organization: Horts in the third overall spot in 2003, while "Soup" was taken in 2002's third round. Remove the lockout season and those two have a combined twelve+ years with the franchise. Oh the stories they could tell...
So it's off to Boston for two of Florida's longest-tenured employees. What's coming back?
Defenseman Dennis Wideman has spent the past 3 1/2 years with the Bruins, having compiled 46 goals, 119 assists, and 165 points over a career split with St. Louis previously. In the first round of this spring's playoffs, Wideman accumulated 8 points (no goals) and a +3 in a seven game losing effort versus Philadelphia.
The key to this deal, of course, was the 15th overall pick in Friday's Entry Draft. Florida now has five picks among the first two rounds, including 3rd, 15th, 33rd, 36th, and 50th. In retrospect, prior to the trade deadline the Cats had two. Phenomenal work by Sexton and Tallon.
Kind of a bittersweet deal. Thrilled about the picks, we'll see what Wideman - with two years remaining on his current deal and a cap hit of $3.938M per - will bring in addition to a heavy salary, and the first round of the Draft just got that much more interesting for Florida fans.
The Horton aspect is really rather simple to summarize: we all had high hopes. As his production grew, so did the expectations. The Jokinen trade dovetailed into a lost season at center. Injuries prevented what could have been a stirring rise from the B-list in 2009-10. Alas, always another convenient reason why he didn't become the power forward he was projected to be. Tallon saw the writing clearly spotlighted on the wall, and did what was best for both parties. And deserved by the fans.
A terrific first move. Now, about that lack of scoring...
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