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Rookie Horton out for year

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Florida Panthers signed free agent
forward Donald Audette on Friday, the same day the team learned
star rookie Nathan Horton will have season-ending surgery.

The 34-year-old Audette had three goals and five assists in 23
games with the Montreal Canadiens this season before having his
contract bought out Jan. 2. He was an All-Star as recently as 2001,
when he played for the Atlanta Thrashers.

"He is an extremely talented, hardworking and intense forward
that can score goals, as indicated by his All-Star selection in
2001," Panthers general manager Rick Dudley said.

In his 15-year career, Audette also has played for Dallas, Los
Angeles
and Buffalo. He has 251 goals and 237 assists in 684 career
games.

An MRI exam revealed Horton had a torn rotator cuff in his left
shoulder, and the center will have surgery Tuesday. The third
overall pick by the Panthers in last year's draft, Horton had 10
goals, third best on the team.

The Panthers also sent defenseman Jeff Paul to San Antonio of
the American Hockey League.