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Jets hand Jim Slater a three-year deal

Tampa Bay Lightning v Winnipeg Jets

WINNIPEG, CANADA - APRIL 7: Jim Slater #19 of the Winnipeg Jets celebrates his third period goal against of the Tampa Bay Lightning in NHL action at the MTS Centre on April 7, 2012 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Marianne Helm/Getty Images)

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The Winnipeg Jets re-signed forward Jim Slater to a contract extension on Wednesday. Ken Wiebe reports that it’s a three-year deal worth $4.8 million.

The American-born winger was a first-round pick (30th overall) by Atlanta/Winnipeg in 2002. He’s been a fairly consistent fixture with the organization since the 2005-06 season, typically producing about 12-20 points per season. He achieved a modest career-high in 2011-12, scoring 13 goals and 21 points in 78 games. He also shot at a career-high 11 percent, so even a 15-goal output might be a bit much to ask in the future.

Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff is wise to get this decision out of the way quickly, because he has bigger ones coming up this summer.

Evander Kane and Ondrej Pavelec are among the team’s most significant restricted free agents. Pavelec might leave for the KHL, so backup Chris Mason’s unrestricted free agent status is that much more relevant. Kyle Wellwood (pauses for fat jokes) was also surprisingly productive, so the Jets might have a tough call to make there.

It’ll be interesting to see if the franchise sticks with smaller, familiar moves like re-signing guys like Slater or if they decide to make a splashy move or two this off-seaosn.