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Jackets coach won’t put Horton and Gaborik on same line

Jul 7, 2013, 9:25 AM EDT

Dallas Stars v Columbus Blue Jackets Getty Images

The one catch for Columbus signing Nathan Horton is that he’ll need shoulder surgery this summer so it’ll be a while before he officially suits up for the Blue Jackets.

When he does, however, don’t expect him to be on the same line with Marian Gaborik as Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch shares. Richards wants other teams to make a decision on who they send their best defensemen after.

“It makes them make a decision: ‘Who are we going to go after?’ ” Richards said. “If they have one shut-down (defensive) pair, that’s going to leave something a little more open for us, maybe.”

So how will he set up the lines? Young forward Cam Atkinson may have to slide to left wing to play alongside Horton. Brandon Dubinsky and either R.J. Umberger or Atkinson could wind up skating with Horton. Meanwhile, Gaborik will likely stay with Artem Anisimov while Umberger or Atkinson lands on their left side.

Sounds pretty good either way for the Eastern Conference-bound Jackets.

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