Panthers might trade Nathan Horton soon – Sabres interested?

Agent says ‘there’s a very good chance’ Panthers winger will be dealt

Nathan Horton’s agent said Wednesday he believes “there’s a very good chance” the Panthers right winger will be traded before or at the draft next weekend in Los Angeles.

“It would not surprise me at all if he’s dealt by the draft,” Horton’s agent Paul Krepelka said, adding that Horton’s aware of the possibility. “If it happens, it happens.”

Krepelka said he spoke with Panthers General Manager Dale Tallon after Tallon’s hiring and noted, “he likes Nathan as a player, but no one’s untouchable.”

According to league sources, several teams are interested in Horton, who has three years left on a six-year, $24 million contract extension signed with the Panthers just before the 2007 draft. Horton’s no-trade clause won’t kick in until July 1, Krepelka said.

Horton , 25, has the second-longest tenure with the Panthers, who drafted him No. 3 in 2003. He finished second on the team with 57 points (20 goals) this past season despite missing 17 games with a broken leg. His goal totals have declined each season since a career-high 31 in 2006-07.

The Sabres, who desperately need a right winger, have serious interest in Horton , and could in return give the Panthers the top-two center Tallon desires in Derek Roy or Tim Connolly.

Roy, 27, had 26 goals and 43 assists in 80 games last season and like Horton has three years left on his contract at $4 million a season. But at 5-foot-9, 188 pounds, he’s smaller than Stephen Weiss and Tallon said he wants a big center to help Weiss.

The Sabres, who envision Horton playing on a line with Roy and Thomas Vanek, would be more inclined to part with the 6-1, 191-pound Connolly , 29, who had 17 goals and 48 assists in 73 games last season and has one year remaining at $4.5 million.

Horton was having one of his best seasons before the injury in January and coach Pete DeBoer praised his play at both ends of the ice. Inconsistency has plagued Horton throughout his career, but his immense talent and 6-2, 215-pound frame have kept him on other teams’ radars the past few seasons.

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/florida-panthers/fl-nathan-horton-panthers-0617-20100616,0,529718.story


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