As hockey fans try to make it through the summer grind, there is not much to discuss regarding the Buffalo Sabres. Don't worry ladies and gents, only 50 days until the Sabres first regular season game in Helsinki! Woo.
One thing Sabres fans have been talking about is how the team will get under the salary cap, as they currently sit roughly $3 million over the cap. One salary a lot of fans have been wishing we could get rid of is that if Jason Pominville. With an average cap hit of 5.3 million dollars for the next 3 seasons, all of the arm chair GM's have been mulling over ways to eject Pominville from the roster. Unfortunately for them, it's a moot point as he does have a no trade clause and his salary would be unattractive to other teams. However, even if he could be moved, it wouldn't be a good move for the Sabres. Furthermore, I think they should resign him at the end of his current deal.
A lot of fans complain because he's "inconsistent." He may be a streaky scorer at times, but his career stats do not get much more consistent. Pominville has had 5 straight 20+ goal seasons (and 18 goals in his rookie year in 05-06). A lot of teams would love to have a guy who can score 20 goals a season with that much consistency.
His point totals have also been fairly consistent. In the four full seasons he played (all 82 games each season from 06-07 to 09-10) his point totals never went below 60. Once again, that is some pretty solid, consistent production. He dropped to 52 points last season, but that is because a concussion he had sustained in the 3rd game of the season held him off the ice for 9 games. Not to mention the time it probably took him to fully readjust, as concussions can really mess with a player's game.
Pominville is also a big part of the Sabres' special teams. He is usually the point man/quarterback for the Sabres powerplay, because of his ability to shoot the puck hard and get the shot on net. It seems like a simple concept, but some guys have difficulty getting the puck on net through traffic. Pominville is one of the guys who can do it regularly.
He's also very crucial to the Sabres penalty kill. He's been called "soft" but he's not affraid to block shots and can use his hard shot to clear the zone when the Sabres are down a man. He's also got 7 career shorthanded goals and 11 shorthanded points. It may not seem a like a lot, but there sure is not a lot of shorthanded scoring in general.
Pominville also brings a lot of intangibles to the ice and to the locker room. First of all, the guy is not afraid to shoot. Sometimes it backfires (broken sticks, blocked shots) but when he gets that rocket of a shot on net, it goes in, creates chances in the form of a rebound, or gets an offensive zone faceoff.
Secondly, he has a tendency to heat up right when it matters most, the end of the season. Pominville could probably be described as a "slow starter" in some regards. He gets chances, gets some goals, but doesn't put up a lot of points...until right around February. Then he just goes into overdrive. If the team needs to get a goal early, Pominville is usually the one to get it. Looking for a big go ahead/insurance goal late in a game? Pominville is there.
There are a few specific examples I can think of from this past season to demonstrate this. March 5th in Philadelphia: The Sabres and Flyers are all tied up at 3 with about 13 minutes left in the game. Thomas Vanek feeds a nice pass to Pominville going to the net, and he redirects the pass past Bobrovsky for what would become the game winner. The next night in Minnesota Pominville started a nice a 3 way passing play the ended in him tapping home the puck just 1:23 into another crucial game. The Sabres would go on to win 3-2 in overtime.
A few nights later on March 19th against Atlanta at home, Pominville scored the first goal just 24 seconds into another crucial game that helped the Sabres work their way up the standings. The Sabres went on to win that one 8-2. He struck early again on March 25th against the Panthers, just 1:23 into another big game. He also had the primary assist on Jordan Leopold's game winning goal. He also scored the game winning (and only) goal in game 4 against the Flyers in the playoffs halfway through the 1st period.
Pominville's inherent ability to get hot when it counts and seemingly new found drive to get to the net has made him a leader in the locker room. Although it's not widely talked about, Pominville frequently wears the alternate captain "A" for the Sabres. A sign that he is respected by his teammates and coaches.
So the next time you complain about Pominville shooting wide, think about everything he brings to the table for the team. He's a big part of the team. Overpaid, maybe, but important to the team none the less. It's why he should stay for the remainder of his contract and be resigned once his current deal expiries. Plus, let’s face it, we don’t want to hear some other commentator announcing that the population of Pominville has gone up by one more.
Its nice to know that Pomm is good for our power play. Please tell me what power play are you talking about? Our power play that has been at the bottom of the league for the last 14 years or the fantasy one everyone dreams about?
@Winnie33 Our power-play was 9th in the league last year, not exactly the bottom. I don't need to go back any further to tell you you're wrong and it's much better to actually look up the stats you talk about.