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Columbus cash-in: Horton, Jackets agree to seven-year, $37.1M deal

Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 03: Nathan Horton #18 of the Boston Bruins celebrates his goal in the third period against the Toronto Maple Leafs on December 3, 2011 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Bruins defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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Jarmo Kekalainen has made his second significant splash as Columbus GM, inking former Bruins power forward Nathan Horton to a seven-year, $37.1 million deal.

The deal carries a $5.3 million annual cap hit and, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Horton will receive $30 million of his salary in the first five years of the deal.

Horton, 28, spent the last three seasons in Boston, emerging as a gifted net-front presence with a knack for coming up large in the playoffs.

During the most recent Cup run, he finished with 19 points in 22 games despite being irked by a troublesome shoulder.

A six-time 20-goal scorer, he’ll immediately upgrade the Columbus offense. The Blue Jackets didn’t have a reliable scorer last season after Rick Nash was sent to New York, though they did improve by picking up Marian Gaborik at the trade deadline.

With this deal, Horton gets a notable pay bump from the $4 million he was making annually on his last deal.