DOB: November 30, 1982 (Age, 36)
Draft: 2001, 2nd Round (25th-overall)
How acquired: Reacquired in a trade with Minnesota, June 30, 2017
Last contract signed: October 3, 2013, 5yr./$28 million
Final year of contract: 2018-19
Buffalo Career Stats: 733 games | 217 goals | 304 assists | 521 points | +20 | 17:35 ATOI
What we wrote preseason: Pominville has been in the league 13 seasons now and is approaching 1,000 NHL games played. If you don't know him by now you will never, never, never know him. The Repentigny, Quebec is about as solid as they come and has had the skill, skating, smarts and maneuverability to produce consistently throughout his career while also avoid serious injury. However, the years have begun taking their toll, albeit slowly and with his production dipping well below his career averages the last three years, Pominville is slated for bottom-six duty from here on in.
Unless he's traded this preseason, which seems unlikely at this point, Pominville will probably be in the opening night lineup on October 4 and he'll be in the bottom-six somewhere. Regardless of where he is in the lineup, GM Jason Botterill and coach Phil Housley love the professionalism he brings to the table so a spot on the roster is almost a sure thing. Where he ends up is the question mark at this point.
What we wrote mid-season: The 35 yr. old is in his 15th NHL season and is far removed from the days where he was scoring at least 20 goals and 60 points on a consistent basis. At this stage of the game Pominville is looked to for leadership on the ice and wisdom off it as he's is really beginning to show his age. The adrenaline of a new season has worn off and the long grind of the NHL season has set in. Like last season, Pominville started out strong scoring eight goals and adding seven assists in his first 16 games but has only one goal and two assists in his last 17 games. He went into the Christmas break on an 11-game pointless streak before being sidelined with a what looks to be a concussion for the last two games. The last time the Sabres made the playoffs was in the 2010-11 season, Pominville's last full season in Buffalo before getting traded, and this year they're in the driver's seat for a playoff appearance which would bring Pominville full circle. And probably make for a nice sendoff whenever their season ends.
Impressions on his play this year: Pominville had some spurts of really good play for the Sabres this year, but he disappeared way too much for being a high paid leader and in looking at the raw numbers, you might say that he had a good season for a player his age. But save for a moment or two, he really didn't have any kind of impact. It was just a typical vanilla year for him, one we'd seen many years prior to his trade to the Wild back in 2013. He is what he is and what he always was.
The above was written last year at season's end and applies to this season as well.
Pominville is and always has been a genuine good guy in the National Hockey League and he had himself an excellent NHL career. As we marvel at what Tomas Hertl did last night to end the Sharks/Golden Knights game with an NHL-first, game-winning shorthanded goal in the second overtime, it should be noted that Pominville scored one of the greatest goals in Sabres history when he ended the Buffalo/Ottawa series with an overtime shorthanded goal, the only time a playoff series ever ended like that (relive below.) We should also note that the Sabres waived him out of camp in 2005 and were lucky that no one claimed him as he was a key player and major contributor to the team up until he was traded to the Minnesota Wild in 2013.
As of today Pominville's rank in Sabres history: 8th games played (773); 10th in goals (217); 8th in assists (304); 8th in points (521)
If this sounds like a epitaph for Pominville's NHL career, it is. Or at least it should be in Buffalo. At 36 yrs. old and with the game as fast as it is these days, for as much as we might love Pominville, the game looks to have passed him by. Much respect, good luck in your future endeavors and thanks for the memories.
Questions moving forward:
Contract info via CapFriendly, stats via sabres.com and hockey reference.com.