While the free-agent frenzy doesn’t officially kick-off until tomorrow, the new CBA has allowed GM’s to meet with upcoming unrestricted free-agents and discuss why they should sign with their club this summer. And one of the most sought after players that will be available starting July 5th is former Boston Bruins forward Nathan Horton. Meaning if Craig MacTavish has any desire to try and sign Horton, he’s going to have to act swiftly.
ESPN Insider Craig Custance reported yesterday that Horton was visiting one city during the 48-hour allowance period that GM’s can court the players they’re most interested. It’s believed that Horton was in Columbus to meet with the Blue Jackets’ GM Jarmo Kekalainen on Thursday, leading to speculation that they will make a full court press to sign him, only to be confirmed by Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch that the Jackets are highly interested in Horton’s services.
Horton would be a tremendous upgrade for the Oilers in terms of size and physical play in their forward department. A top-six player who can create room for his linemates while still providing a scoring touch, Horton is the type of player Edmonton needs. Leading to the question of whether or not Craig MacTavish should overpay Horton in order to sign him.
With Columbus hot on his trail and a report from ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun that stated Horton is said to be ‘eyeing a non-traditional hockey market so he can enjoy a quieter life’ the Oilers will be entering this race as a long shot.
But money talks and we’ve seen that on more than one occasion in the NHL. Edmonton is a hockey crazed market but if Mac-T offers Horton in the neighbourhood of that $6 million range for 4-years, he’s almost surely to pause and consider the offer.
It was reported earlier this week that Horton is seeking a 4-5 year deal worth $6.5 million annually. A steep price for a player with the medical concerns that Horton brings but in a free-agent pool where the big bodied scorers are few and far between, he can demand top dollar.
A writer for the Edmonton Journal believes that the Oilers might go as high as $6 million per year and even at that price, you’d have to consider that overpaying for Nathan Horton. Given the Oilers inability to lure the top names in summers gone past, maybe they need to spend more than other teams are willing to dish out. Especially in this case where Horton is said to be seeking a quieter life that he’d get in Columbus.
Let’s hear from you the readers on this one. Should the Oilers overpay for Nathan Horton when free-agency opens on Friday? Take part in our poll and let your voice be heard.
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