PLayers like the Oshawa Generals Nathan Horton, don’t come around all the
time. It’s not everyday that a sixteen year old, who is 6’3″ – 195lbs, can
play both ends of the ice like the 2001 2nd overall selection can. Horton,
who at sixteen, is already showing signs of becoming a dominant center in
the league, can indeed do it all. He can skate, shoot, pass, hit, and drop
the gloves when needed.
Most importantly be boasts a skill that not many
sixteen year old rookies do. He knows his role at both ends of the ice.
Whether it be maturity, or simply the fact that he understands that to be
the best, you have to do everything, including the little things. It’s the
little things that make Horton extremely special. The things you notice
his strapping 6’3″ frame, his beautiful long skating stride, and fantastic
But there are also things that aren’t as visible to the casual
hockey fan. Horton is a penalty kill specialist, and he is rarely caught
of position. He is blessed with many intangibles, like kicking the puck
his skate to his stick while in full stride, or the hand eye coordination
that allows him to bat pucks out of the air.
In a hat trick that he scored
earlier in the year, it was said that his three goals didn’t even begin to
tell the story, and that he absolutely dominated the game in the opponents
end, and in his teams end as well. The best thing about Horton is that
he plays well in his own end, his point a game pace, shows that his
offensive ability is very well-rounded also.
I’m not trying to make it seem as if I think Horton is a perfect player,
because he is not. He can use some work on his decision making (when to
pass/when to shoot), and his consistency also needs work. But those are
rookie shortcomings that can be easily solved with work and good coaching.
His saying that he would not report to the Missisauga Ice Dogs if they
drafted him 1st overall in last June’s OHL draft raised some eyebrows. But
after three years of cellar dwelling, can you blame him? There does not
to be any question about Horton’s character, as all reports out of Oshawa
state that he is a great kid, with a lot of charisma and a great attitude
and off the ice.
If Horton keeps up his play, he will be getting
consideration for the rookie of the year award, and he will also have many
scouts eyes locked on him for the 2003 NHL draft.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you all enjoyed my article.