Jackets’ Horton happy having a full summer to prep for next season

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Nathan Horton’s first season with the Columbus Blue Jackets wasn’t exactly one to remember.

While he was part of a team that went to the playoffs for just the second time in franchise history, recovery from offseason shoulder surgery and other injuries held him to just 35 games in the regular season and none in the postseason.

As Horton told Alex Busch of BlueJackets.com, he’s hoping a healthy offseason is just what he needs to help Columbus return to the playoffs again next season.

“It’s nice having a (full) summer where I can train. I haven’t had one in a while,” Horton said. “It’s different than the last few years that I was in Boston. I’ve got the whole summer, I can make myself stronger and work on things that I need to work on and get healthy.”

Last summer, Horton’s shoulder operation kept him out of the lineup until January 2. He was able to stay in action until April when he had to undergo abdominal surgery that knocked him out of the postseason.

Horton signed a seven-year, $37.1 million deal with the Jackets last summer. It was a deal that raised some eyebrows then given his injury history and the fact they knew he was getting shoulder surgery as it was. Still, a healthy Horton in the Columbus lineup makes a big difference and could help make them contenders in the Eastern Conference next season.