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Nathan Horton re-signs with Panthers for US$24 million over six years

The six-foot-two centre from Welland, Ont., scored 31 goals and assisted on 31 last season as he continued to mature into an NHL star. Horton stepped into the big league in 2003-2004 out of the OHL’s Oshawa Generals after being the third player selected in the 2003 entry draft. He scored 14 goals in his rookie season and 28 in 2005-2006 before reaching the 30-goal plateau this year.

Horton will be paid $3 million in 2007-2008. He’ll get $3.5 million in each of the next two years, $4 million in the fourth year, $4.5 million in the fifth year and $5 million in the last year. A no-trade clause kicks in after the third year.

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He was a restricted free agent when word of the deal circulated as teams prepared for the beginning of the 2007 entry draft Friday night