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Jets Sign Appleton to Three-Year Extension, Avoid Arbitration

The Winnipeg Jets and forward Mason Appleton have avoided arbitration, agreeing to terms on a three-year contract extension.
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Another restricted free agent has avoided arbitration. 

Days before the two sides were set to battle each other in front of an arbitrator, the Winnipeg Jets and forward Mason Appleton found common ground on Sunday afternoon, agreeing to terms on a three-year contract extension worth an average annual value of $2 million. 

The deal, which now ties Appleton to Winnipeg through the 2024-25 season, is among the longer pacts to come before an arbitration hearing and clearly demonstrates just how much the Jets organization values Appleton after re-acquiring him from Seattle at the trade deadline this past February. 

On the surface, though, this is a hefty price for a player of Appleton's caliber. 

The 26-year-old enters this coming season with a career-high of just 12 goals, finishing the 2021-22 campaign with just eight in 68 games to go with 13 assists and 21 points. 

While Appleton saw his usage spike up down the final stretch upon his return to Winnipeg last season, he's consistently logged under 13 minutes in ice time per night throughout his time in the NHL, making him a pure depth forward with little versatility. 

The three-year term Appleton just signed for will walk him to free agency at the ripe old age of 29, effectively buying up the bulk of his remaining prime and ensuring he'll spend what should be his most productive years with the team that drafted him. After four NHL seasons, though, it's hard to see the Green Bay native improving by leaps and bounds between now and then, making the decision to give Appleton such a lucrative deal a somewhat puzzling one. 

With the Jets seemingly intent on making the playoffs this season, they'll need all hands on deck. Appleton will likely help the club inch closer to its goal. 

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