The Nathan Horton era in Columbus starts tonight

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When the Columbus Blue Jackets signed forward Nathan Horton to a seven-year, $37.1 million contract over the summer, they knew he wouldn’t make his debut in October.

Horton needed offseason shoulder surgery, but he’s finished his rehab and is ready to play in his first game with the Blue Jackets, according to the team’s website.

He’s not a superstar, but he is a great power forward that’s been very successful in the playoffs. For a franchise that’s never had any success in the postseason, the prospect of adding a guy like him is potentially huge.

So his debut alone would make this a big night for Columbus, but that’s not the only bit of encouraging news they got this morning. Sergei Bobrovsky will probably return from a groin injury tonight. That being said, the Blue Jackets will probably ease the defending Vezina Trophy winner back into the lineup by having him serve as the team’s backup in their match against the Phoenix Coyotes.

Defenseman Dalton Prout (upper body) is also likely to rejoin Columbus after a six-game absence.

Columbus is six points out of a postseason spot, but they would have to leapfrog several teams in order to make the playoffs.