Toronto Maple Leafs: Nathan Horton Trying to Stay Positive


Toronto Maple Leafs: Nathan Horton Trying to Stay Positive

Nathan Horton hasn’t played in an NHL game since April 9, 2014. Despite the extended absence, the Toronto Maple Leafs forward remains optimistic that he’ll be able to play hockey again.

Dealing with a degenerative back injury, Horton decided not to have invasive surgery because it would have meant the end of his career. Instead, the just turned 30-year-old forward remains hopeful that one day he can make a return to the ice.

“Obviously, my back’s not great but I have my good days and some OK days. I’m just taking it easy,” Horton told‘s Joe MacDonald. “Eventually it’s going to go away — I hope. I’m just enjoying my life. I’m healthy and I’m happy. It’s obviously tough because I want to play.”

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  • Acquired by the Leafs from the Columbus Blue Jackets in February for forward David Clarkson, Horton has five years remaining on the $37.1 million he signed with the Blue Jackets back in 2013. Even though he probably won’t play again, the Leafs will continue to pay Horton. The silver lining, though, is that the team can place him on the long-term injured reserve if they bump into salary cap issues, which essentially means they relieved some cap space when they acquired him.

    Before being traded to Toronto, Horton was once a key member of the Boston Bruins Stanley Cup run during the 2011 season. He scored the game-winning goal during Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals to lead the Bruins to a 1-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    Constantly battling health issues since then, Horton’s game-winning goal seems like a distant memory now. But lost in the discussion of his injuries is just how young Horton still is. At 30 years old, most players have lots of hockey ahead of them still.

    “I know I’m still young,” Horton said. “Life gives you curveballs and I’m just trying to be positive and that’s pretty much all I can do.”

    Perhaps Horton’s optimism can translate into one final comeback. Even if it’s just for a few games, it would make for a great ending to what was once a promising career.

    Next: Babcock Reaches Out to Red Wings Assistant Coaches