35 yrs. old
6'0" 180 lbs.
2001, 2nd round (55th-overall)
Re-acquired by Buffalo from the Minnesota Wild on June 30, 2017
Career stats: 987 games | 277 goals | 419 assists | 696 points | +48
If you need vets to cover for, and help guide the youngins, there are plenty of them in Buffalo for training camp right now and at 35 yrs. old, right wing Jason Pominville is the senior member of this group. At least for now.
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. In his 13 full seasons he's played all 82 games in eight of them, 73 or more games three times and was one game shy of a full 48-game schedule during the 2012-13 lockout shortened season. He played in only 57 games during his rookie campaign in 2005-06 but that was due to his time in Rochester after clearing waivers.
To think, that a player with nearly 1,000 games played and nearly 700 career points could have been had by any team in the league that season.
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. With nearly 14 goals and 41 points per 82 games, he's still producing, but far from his 23 goals and 58 points/82 game career average.
Buffalo has a lot players at training camp this year vying for spots on the roster. Young wingers Tage Thompson, Justin Bailey, Nicholas Baptiste and Alexander Nylander along with forwards C.J. Smith, Evan Rodrigues and Andrew Oglevie plus younger vets like Zemgus Girgensons and Johan Larsson as well as vets Scott Wilson and Vladimir Sobotka are all shooting for spots in the bottom six. Of that group Thompson, Nylander, Smith and Oglevie are waivers exempt this year while rest will have question marks surrounding their future should they not land in the remaining spots.
That's the cool part about camp this year--there are a lot of different scenarios all dependent upon the individual players, the type of chemistry they have with their linemates and how much they'll be able to produce during camp. No need to worry about Pominville in any of those areas as he's played with a number of linemates and always developed enough chemistry to continue to produce well into his 30's.
And that's what might make him attractive to a contender.
Although it's not a sure thing that he'll be traded at some point, should the Sabres be out of contention and/or should Pominville be in a second-half slump like he was last season, odds are that he'll be moved by the end of trade deadline day. Which isn't such a bad thing for either him or the team. With most of his $5.6 million cap-hit paid by then, a contender might be interested in his services giving him a shot at the Stanley Cup and the Sabres could get themselves a mid-upper round pick in return.
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. In the scenario laid out here, he and fellow vet Patrik Berglund can cover for and/or mentor a rookie center like Rasmus Asplund. Should Asplund head to Rochester and Berglund move to center, Pominville might be shifted to fourth-line duties with PP time while a younger player like Thompson, Bailey, Baptiste or Nylander takes on third-line duty.
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.
Building the 2018-19 Buffalo Sabres roster:
LW, Conor Sheary
/ C, Jack Eichel
/ RW, Sam Reinhart
LW, Jeff Skinner
/ C, Casey Mittelstadt
/ RW, Kyle Okposo
LW, Patrik Berglund
/ C, Rasmus Asplund
/ RW, Jason Pominville
LHD, Marco Scandella
/ RHD, Rasmus Ristolainen
LHD, Rasmus Dahlin
/ RHD, Zach Bogosian
G, Carter Hutton