35-Year-Old Right Wing – Buffalo Sabres
Jason Pominville Contract Information:
Agreed to a five-year, $28 million extension with the Wild in October of 2013.
Pominville scored the Sabres' only goal in a 5-1 loss to the Penguins on Saturday.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Pominville’s early 30s have brought with them a dramatic and painful decline, as the once-reliable sniper has seen his goal total fall from 30 in 2013-14 to 18 two years ago, then to a miserable 11 last season. He experienced giant dips in his ice time and shot total last year, leading to just 36 points – by far his worst NHL campaign. At 33 years old, Pominville’s now third in the pecking order at right wing for the Wild, who have a pair of rising youngsters in Charlie Coyle and Nino Niederreiter occupying the top two spots. Expect nothing more than 40 points from him, although he’ll likely produce some of that on the power play.
The 32-year-old Pominville fits well with the Wild as a winger with sniping ability, annually churning out stable offensive production on the first or second line. While he’s no longer scoring goals at the same rate that he did in his mid-20s with the Sabres, Pominville still provides a shows a good nose for the net on a defense-first Wild squad. In 2014-15, Pominville tallied just 18 goals, his lowest total in a full season since 2005-06, but added 36 assists, which was his best mark since 2009-10. Part of his problem was a perilously low shooting percentage of 7.1 percent, more than four points off his career mark. Playing alongside Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise once again, Pominville should have myriad opportunities to pick up assists and log plenty of ice time, both at even strength and on special teams. And if his shooting percentage rebounds, he could bring himself back above 60 points again.
Pominville may be 31, but he isn't slowing down at all. His skills alone are reason enough to draft him, but his chemistry with center Mikael Granlund had both men racking up the points. There's every reason to believe he's got a couple of strong seasons left in him until the inevitable decline begins, so a repeat of his 30-goal, 30-assist production from 2013-14 is within reach, regardless of whether his center is Granlund or Mikko Koivu.
Pominville was on pace for the lowest offensive output since his rookie season in Buffalo. With the Wild, he was back to form with nine points in 10 games before suffering a concussion, which caused him to miss the final regular season game and part of the playoffs. He says he is fully recovered from the concussion and should have a high-profile role with the Wild, getting lots of power-play time and benefiting from a better environment on offense than late in his Buffalo career.
Pominville was a model of consistency in 2011-12, playing all 82 games and leading the Sabres in scoring with 73 points (30G, 43A), handsomely rewarding owners that took a flier on him in later rounds. He's missed just nine games in the last six seasons, making him one of the league's most durable performers. His low PIM totals won't be of much use in rotisserie leagues, but it's fairly safe to pencil him in for 60 points, a milestone he has achieved in all but one season since 2006-07. Don't overpay for last season's numbers, as Pominville has been known to disappear at times. Still, he can be a valuable source of secondary scoring.
For the first time in four seasons, Pominville missed playing time due to injury, yet he was still on pace to finish right around the 25-goal, 35-assist mark that the Sabres have come to expect from Pominville. The big question mark is how he'll recover from a scary leg injury after taking a skate blade to his lower leg during Buffalo's playoff loss to Philadelphia last spring. All indications are that he'll be ready to go strong right out of the gate, but that injury bug that he did so well to avoid for four years seems finally caught up with him. The Sabres and fantasy owners would be ecstatic with a 60-point (25 G, 35 A) season from Pommer.
The word that should come to mind when thinking of Pominville is durability. The left winger has played in every single game for the Sabres for each of the last four seasons. And like most of Buffalo's other top forwards, Pominville's numbers are remarkably consistent. He posted 62 points (24 G, 38 A) for the Sabres in 2010, and he never went more than four games without getting on the scoresheet. His plus-13 was also second on the team, and 10th amongst all right wingers in the league. Pominville is one of those fantasy players you see in every sport that is so consistent he can get overlooked.
Pominville's 20 goals and minus-4 rating last season could be considered a disappointment considering the 26-year-old's potential. Although he led the team with 46 assists, Pominville saw a dramatic decrease in production compared to the 2007-08 season, complete with a midseason slump where he managed to notch only one goal in a 26-game-stretch. Despite his minor struggles last season, Pominville isn't expected to carry over his relatively lackluster numbers to the 2009-10 season. In the final 13 games of the season, Pominville turned up the heat putting up an impressive 18 points. Known for his durability, expect this star winger to put in a lot of games for his team.
Unlike teammates Thomas Vanek and Maxim Afinogenov, Pominville excelled in an expanded role in 2007-08. He tallied 80 points (27G, 53A) as part of a surge that has taken him from 30 points in 2005-06 to 68 in 2006-07 to 80 a year ago. Pominville will turn 26 in November and there’s a good chance that his best is yet to come. One trend to watch is that he is developing into more of a passer -- for instance, he improved his year-to-year assist total by 19 last year but netted seven fewer goals. Also, he scored 10 power-play goals in 2005-06 but totaled four power-play tallies over the last two seasons combined (on the plus side, he racked up 24 power-play assists last season). We interpret these facts as signs of maturity. Pominville is a well-rounded player than managed an impressive plus-16 rating on a non-playoff team last season. Ninety points are well within his reach.
Pominville is a player on the rise. Last year, in his second NHL season, he ranked fourth on the Sabres' squad with 68 points (34G, 34A). Buffalo lost its top two scorers (Daniel Briere and Chris Drury) to free agency and Pominville is likely to team with last year's third-leading scorer, Thomas Vanek, and Tim Connolly on the Sabres' top line in 2007-08. Pominville's success could hinge largely on Connolly's health. The talented passer missed Buffalo's first 80 regular season games last year because of post-concussion syndrome, however, he returned to play a key role in the postseason. Pominville should improve his scoring output this season. Whether it jumps to 75 points or 90 depends on Connolly's health and Vanek's ability to grow into a primetime player.
Pominville was expected to receive a call-up and some sporadic duty last season, but he ended up doing a whole lot more, scoring 18 goals and 30 points. He also went from substitute to an important part of the lineup, scoring 10 power play goals and two shorties, not to mention one of the team’s all-time great playoff goals, a short-hander to knock out the Sens in overtime of Game 5. Pominville could be in line for a more significant role this because the Sabres let Dumont leave. Pominville’s still only 23, and has a scorer’s touch. While he probably won’t ever be a fantasy superstar, he has the potential to be a dependable first or second liner who sees plenty of special teams action.
We're a little higher on fellow Buffalo prospect Derek Roy, but Pominville isn't far behind. The 22-year-old is one of several promising prospects who should get a serious look at a roster spot when training camp rolls around. He's still probably a couple of seasons away from fantasy value, but he's one of several promising young players in the Buffalo system.
We're a little higher on fellow Buffalo prospect Derek Roy, but Pominville isn't far behind. The 21-year-old is one of several promising prospects who should get a serious look at a roster spot the next time training camp rolls around. He's still probably a couple of seasons away from fantasy value, but he's one of several promising young players in the Buffalo system.