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Cats deal Horton, Campbell to B's for Wideman, picks

by Dan Rosen
Dale Tallon promised he would reshuffle and reshape the Florida Panthers, and the new GM in Sunrise got started on that process Tuesday by making his first major deal since being hired in May.

Tallon shipped forwards Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell to Boston in exchange for defenseman Dennis Wideman and the 15th selection in Friday's NHL Entry Draft. The Panthers also will receive Boston's third-round pick in 2011.

The Bruins already will select second Friday night in Los Angeles (7 p.m. ET, Versus, TSN, NHL NETWORK) and for now remain with seven picks in total, including two more in the second round (Nos. 32 and 45). The Panthers now have two picks in the top 15, including third overall, five picks in the top 50 and seven in the top 93.

"It wasn't whether we wanted a forward or defensemen, it was whether we could make a good deal, a fair deal," Tallon said. "Getting the first-round pick and finding the right match, sometimes you end up with a defenseman instead of a forward. The important thing to us was getting the first-round pick and getting a third-round pick to add to what we want to do in the long run, build through the draft. There were several partners and scenarios, but this one made the most sense."

"Nathan is a big, powerful, young man. He is 25-years-old and has scored over 30 goals once and over 20 goals in five consecutive seasons. He is a shooter who plays a power game."
-- Bruins' GM Peter Chiarelli

Tallon did say he tried to pry the No. 2 pick in the draft away from the Bruins, but they weren't budging.

"There had been discussions, yes there were, but they were adamant on keeping it," he said.

Horton indicated to Tallon that he wanted a fresh start somewhere else. Horton said he never gave Tallon a list of teams, but he knew it was time to move on and he's ecstatic to take his game and his family to an Original Six city and team. He called it "a dream come true."

Ironically, Horton is represented by the Orr Hockey Group. Its majority owner is former Bruins' great Bobby Orr.

"Not to say anything bad about the (Panthers') organization, but I have had five coaches since I have been there and to come to a stable, historic organization … there is such a history with great players like Johnny Bucyk, Willie O'Ree, Phil Esposito, Cam Neely, Ray Bourque, Gerry Cheevers, and of course, my agent, Bobby Orr," Horton said. "Pretty much I'm just excited. I'm going to give it all I got. I think it'll be good. I'm just trying to move forward, look ahead and I'm just very excited to be a Boston Bruin."

Tallon said the Horton thanked him for the trade Tuesday.

"I said in my press conference that players want to be here will be here and players that want to play elsewhere will play elsewhere," Tallon said. "That's what is going to happen here."

Boston appears to be a good destination for Horton because he should be able to help the League's worst offense. The Bruins finished dead last in scoring this past season with 196 goals.

Horton is listed as a center, but said he is more comfortable at right wing, which is where the Bruins plan on playing him. Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli called him a "shooter who plays a power game."

He has 142 goals in 492 games, but has not lived up to the expectations that came when he was selected third in 2003. But he's only 25-years-old and has scored at least 20 goals in each of the past five seasons, topping out at 31 in 2006-07. He is reportedly still owed $12 million over the next three years on a six-year contract he signed before the '07 Entry Draft.

Horton had 20 goals and 37 points in 65 games this past season. The 20 goals were a low for him since he scored 14 in 55 games as a rookie in 2003-04. He believes he can get back to 30-plus goals this season.

"That's my goal and I think it's definitely reachable," Horton said. "I put a lot of pressure on myself to try to do good. I think it's going to be a good time and I'm very excited."

Campbell is not a big-time scorer (17 points in 60 games this past season), but he's a depth forward for the Bruins who already have a plethora of wealth at center when you factor in Marc Savard, Patrice Bergeron, the likely addition of Tyler Seguin, David Krejci and Vladimir Sobotka.

It is possible one of those centers (not Seguin) gets moved in another trade for another scoring winger.

"I'm sure there are not a lot of people in Boston that are familiar with me and I'm going to have things to prove to the coaching staff and the management as well," Campbell said. "I came off a pretty good season last year and then this year my points dropped off. Obviously I'm not known to get a lot of points, but to be a well-rounded player you have to chip in in all areas."

Wideman is a nice addition to the Panthers' blue line, but the key that made this deal get done is the first-round pick. Tallon, who was a key builder of the Blackhawks' Stanley Cup championship team, is a big believer in building through the draft and the Class of 2010 is deep and talented.

As GM of the Hawks, he drafted Jonathan Toews second in 2006 and Patrick Kane first in 2007. He also selected Niklas Hjalmarsson in 2005. Under his watch, Chicago draft picks Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Dave Bolland, Dustin Byfuglien and Troy Brouwer all blossomed as well.

"It's how we did it before and that's how I plan to do it, through the draft," Tallon said. "We have four picks in the first 36 and hopefully we'll get four quality players. That's how we'll build this thing and still stay competitive while we're doing it. That's the goal."

In terms of immediate returns, Wideman gives Florida a deeper defense corps. He'll likely jump into their top-four and perhaps their top-two depending on future moves that Tallon could make.

"We can't sit still," Tallon said. "We've got to move forward here. We're certainly not in the position to sit still, that's for sure. Look at our past record -- we have a lot of work to do."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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