Peter Chiarelli has made a splash before this weekend's NHL entry draft, and it doesn't involve flipping the top two overall picks with the Edmonton Oilers.
The Boston Bruins general manager traded Tuesday for oft-injured Florida Panthers forward Nathan Horton along with rugged centre Gregory Campbell in exchange for defenceman Dennis Wideman, the 15th overall selection this weekend in Los Angeles and a third-round pick in 2011.
"[Horton] obviously was frustrated with what's gone on in the past and was leaning toward maybe if we could help him out, seeing what was out there for him. And that's how this all began," new Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said. "We've got to move forward here. We're certainly not in a position to sit still. ... We have a lot of work to do."
Horton, 25, scored 20 goals and 57 points in 65 games in 2009-10, his sixth NHL season. The six-foot-two, 229-pounder has only topped the 70-game mark three times and is said to have requested a move out of Florida.
"Nathan is a big powerful young man," Chiarelli said in a statement. "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."
The Welland, Ont., native's best season came back-to-back in 2006-07 and 2007-08 when he posted 62 points and played all 82 regular-season games.
In six regular seasons with Florida, Horton recorded 142 goals and 295 points. The Panthers drafted him third overall in 2003.
Horton, who is still owed $15 million US over the next three years as part of a six-year, $24-million US pact signed in June 2007, spent several weeks on the sidelines this past season after fracturing his tibia.
Campbell a versatile player: Chiarelli
Campbell, 26, collected two goals and 17 points in 60 contests this past season. The son of NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell has 29 goals and 56 assists for 85 points in 363 NHL games.
"Gregory is a hard-nosed smart two-way player. He is strong in his zone and can play a variety of roles," said Chiarelli.
The 27-year-old Wideman had a disappointing 2009-10 campaign, mustering only six goals and 30 points. He had 13 goals and a career-high 50 points and a plus-32 rating the previous season.
"Dennis had a terrific three years in Boston. He hit a couple of bumps along the way this past year," Chiarelli said. "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."
The 15th overall draft pick was deemed expendable in large part because Boston acquired the No. 2 selection in last year's Phil Kessel trade with Toronto.
Florida has five of the first 50 picks at this year's draft, which begins at 4 p.m. PT Friday from the Staples Center. Besides No. 15, GM Tallon has the third overall pick, along with three picks in the second round (33rd, 36th and 50th).