DOB: November 30, 1982 (Age, 35)
Draft: 2001, 2nd Round (25th-overall,) Buffalo
How acquired: Trade with Minnesota, June 30, 2017
Last contract signed: October 3, 2013, 5yr./$28 million
Final year of contract: 2018-19
2017-18- Stats: 82 games played | 16 goals |18 assists | 34 points | -17 | 14:54 ATOI
Buffalo Career Stats: 660 games | 201 goals | 289 assists | 490 points | +24 | 18:09 ATOI
What we wrote preseason: "The 6'0" 180 lb. Repentigny, Quebec native ended up having a steady 578-game career in with the Sabres that included dependable play where he missed only nine games in the six seasons before the trade (to the Minnesota Wild.) Those Minnesota years are now over as he was the secondary part of a trade that brought him back to Buffalo along with defenseman Marco Scandella. The Wild needed to clear his $5.6 million cap-hit for the next two seasons so Pominville became a necessary piece for the Wild in the deal.
"Pominville exudes professionalism on the ice and in the dressing room...It's not that hard to fathom Pominville with a letter, but one would think that the Sabres might be ready to move on from that quiet, professional, aged veteran wearing the 'C' and may be more inclined to look towards a younger captain.
"For (probably) the next two seasons we'll be seeing him ply his trade on the right side of the forward group taking players like Sam Reinhart, Johan Larsson, Evan Rodrigues, Nicolas Baptiste and C.J. Smith under his wing and teaching them the finer points of playing the game. They'll be able to learn a lot from him and one would think that the Sabres will be a better team because of it."
What we wrote mid-season: "Has been a fixture on Eichel's right wing for a good majority of the season thus far. Pominville started out on fire but has cooled considerably and at 34 yrs. old, has looked his age on more than one occasion. Ideally he'd be on the third line playing in a veteran leadership role similar to Brian Gionta last season, but right now he's in the top-six. Pominville seems always available for post-game interviews and unfortunately he's being asked the same questions about team failures now as were asked of him five-plus years ago when he was a key component, and one-time captain, of Darcy Regier's core. Which isn't a good sign. Pominville carries a $5.6 million cap-hit through 2018-19 and right now is the third-highest paid player on the team."
Impressions on his play this year: What a start for the 34 yr. old who was on his second tour of duty in Buffalo. He scored the Sabres' only two goals in the season opening shootout loss to Montreal and had 12 points (6+6) in his first 12 games back in the Blue and Gold. Then it hit. In the next 48 games Pominville registered three goals and six assists and suffered a 20-game goalless drought. Tucked within that drought was a 17-game pointless streak. Pominville did well to finish out the season, but what happened in the middle?
The Sabres were not a "better team" because of the leadership he was supposed to bring. In fact this team may have been better off having Brian Gionta, who's playing with the Boston Bruins in the playoffs right now, back in the fold for that role.
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.
Questions moving forward: Can GM Jason Botterill move a bottom-six/fourth line player with a $5.6M cap hit at or before the 2019 trade deadline? Can the team finally move on from all vestiges of Darcy Regier's Core?
Contract info via CapFriendly, stats via sabres.com and hockey reference.com.
Pominville's locker cleanout interview via sabres.com: