Will Horton’s playoff success lead to contract extension?

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Boston Bruins forward Nathan Horton wasn’t particularly special in the regular season, but he’s one of the main reasons the Boston Bruins have made it all the way to the Stanley Cup finals.

He’s stepped up with seven goals and 17 points in 16 playoff contests and has meshed brilliantly with David Krejci and Milan Lucic.

“More than half of my goals are totally because of him where he made a play to set me up,” Krejci told CSN New England. He has a league-leading nine goals and 21 points.

This isn’t anything new for Horton. He also excelled during the Bruins’ 2011 Stanley Cup-winning run with eight goals and 17 points in 21 postseason contests.

The problem for the Bruins is that the 28-year-old forward might not be around for much longer. He’s scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent and while the Bruins almost certainly want him back, in the salary cap era it’s never that simple.

Boston already has $59,025,000 committed to 18 players for the 2013-14 campaign, according to Cap Geek. That doesn’t even include goaltender Tuukka Rask, who is scheduled to become a restricted free agent after the finals.

The Bruins cap situation isn’t quite as tight as it sounds because Marc Savard (concussion), who has a $4,027,143 annual cap hit, will probably spend the 2013-14 campaign on the long-term injured reserve list, but Boston would still need to move a player to give Horton the contract he’s likely after.

It might be worth it though, because if nothing else, Horton has established himself as a playoff hero.

Further Reading:

Haggerty: B’s need to bring back Horton