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Oil strike: Edmonton signs offensive star Horcoff to six-year extension

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The Oilers may have had their troubles attracting free agents to Edmonton this off-season, but forward Shawn Horcoff is happy to be in the Alberta capital.

The Oilers secured their top offensive threat Wednesday, signing Horcoff to a US$33-million, six-year contract extension. Horcoff had 21 goals and 29 assists in 53 games last season before undergoing season-ending surgery on his left shoulder.

The 29-year-old is set to make US$3.6 million this coming season.

"This is a great day for myself and my family," Horcoff said in a statement. "Edmonton is a great city and one that has embraced us in every way possible. I've spent my entire career with the Oilers and I'm thrilled about the direction we are heading in."

The deal allows the Oilers, who have had trouble luring free agents to Edmonton this off-season, to keep Horcoff in an Edmonton uniform for the long run.

"Shawn has proven himself as one of the premier players in the National Hockey League and has been and will continue to be an integral part of our organization moving forward," Oilers general manager Kevin Lowe said Wednesday in a statement.

"By being proactive with this deal, we avoid being in a situation where Shawn could become an unrestricted free agent after next season and the unknown free agency can bring to the organization. Having him under contract long-term is something that has been on our radar for a long time and we are extremely pleased to finalize this deal."

Elsewhere, the Atlanta Thrashers retained their No. 1 goalie, signing Kari Lehtonen to a US$3-million, one-year contract. The 24-year-old restricted free agent earned $2.2 million last season, when he had a career-best .916 save percentage to go along with a 17-22-6 record.

Lehtonen has spent his entire career in Atlanta after being drafted second overall by the Thrashers in 2002. He has a career record of 75-61-14 with a 2.82 goals-against average and .913 save percentage.

In other signings Wednesday:

-The Buffalo Sabres and restricted free agent Daniel Paille agreed to a multi-year contract. Paille, Buffalo's first-round pick in 2002, emerged as a solid two-way forward last season. He set career highs in goals (19) and points (35) while playing in 77 games;

-The New York Islanders re-signed forwards Jeff Tambellini and Sean Bergenheim to two-year deals. Tambellini, 24, signed on for US$1.175 million over two years. Bergenheim, 24, will make $800,000 next season and $925,000 in 2009-10.

-The New York Rangers secured restricted free-agent forward Nigel Dawes. The 23-year-old had 29 points (14-15) in 61 games with the Rangers last season;

-The Phoenix Coyotes signed forward Jeff Hoggan and defenceman Ryan Lannon to one-year contracts worth $500,000 apiece. Hoggan, 30, had 60 points (29-31) in 71 games with Providence of the AHL. Lannon, 25, had 13 points (3-10) in 75 games with the AHL's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins;

-The Columbus Blue Jackets signed free-agent forward Steve Kelly to a $500,000, one-year contract. Kelly, a first-round pick of the Edmonton Oilers in 1995, spent the previous four seasons in Germany. The Blue Jackets also re-signed defenceman Mark Methot (one year, $522,500) and forward Alexandre Picard (one year, $787,500);

-The Nashville Predators signed defenceman Kevin Klein to a $1.3-million, two-year deal. Klein, 23, was the team's third-round pick, 37th overall, in the 2003 entry draft. He played 18 career NHL games with the Predators, including 13 this season.

-The St. Louis Blues inked free-agent forward Brad Winchester to a one-year, $600,000 deal. The 28-year-old had a goal and two assists in 41 games with the Dallas Stars last season. St. Louis also re-signed defenceman Jeff Woywitka to a one-year pact;

-The Calgary Flames signed free-agent forward Jamie Lundmark, who split last season between Dynamo Moscow of the Russian league and the AHL's Lake Erie Monsters;

-The Montreal Canadiens signed defenceman Ryan O'Byrne to a three-year contract, and forward Mike Glumac and blue-liner Shawn Belle to one-year deals;

-The Los Angeles Kings re-signed forward Gabe Gauthier to a two-year contract, and goaltender Erik Ersberg, forward Matt Moulson and defenceman Joe Piskula to one-year deals.

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