2013 NHL Free Agency: Columbus Blue Jackets Sign Nathan Horton to 7 Year Deal

Nathan Horton is a Blue Jacket - USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jackets reeled in one of the most sought-after players in free agency, signing winger Nathan Horton to a 7-year deal.

We've known since the end of the season (and even prior to that) that the Jackets needed to add another scorer up front, to add to Marian Gaborik and the bevy of secondary scorers.

Over the past week, we've heard that the Jackets hosted Nathan Horton, showing him the rink and the city, selling the benefits of becoming a Blue Jacket. It would seem that the Jackets did a great job in this regard, as Horton has signed a seven-year deal with the Jackets, with a cap hit of $5.3 million per season. The contract is very front loaded:

Not since Rick Nash left for New York have the Jackets possessed a power forward with a nose for the net. Horton fits that bill, and if he can stay healthy this is a huge addition for Columbus.

Due to an injury sustained in a fight, Horton's looking at shoulder surgery, meaning it will be well into the fall before he's ready. Consider it an early Christmas present when he's ready to go.

Horton was one of, if not the biggest name forward available. The fact that a player like him chooses to sign with the Jackets, not to mention Gaborik waiving his no-trade clause to do just the same, is a sign of the Jackets earning more credibility throughout the league.

We'll follow up with more as it develops.

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