The Buffalo Sabres reacquired Jason Pominville from the Minnesota Wild as part of the trade that saw Pominville and teammate Marco Scandella head to Buffalo in exchange for Marcus Foligno and Tyler Ennis. A few draft picks were involved in the deal as well, but the players were the big parts in the free-agency-eve deal.
The move has sparked a little excitement in the fan base to see a former fan favorite return. It’s not all about making the fanbase happy with the acquisition. Pominville can help the team in a few areas in which they struggled last season.
The 34-year-old returns to the Sabres for his second stint with the club. Pominville was traded to the Wild on deadline day in 2013. His trade was the move that many point to as the start of the organization’s rebuild. Now, a little over four years later, he comes back to the team when they’re hoping that rebuilding stage is coming to an end.
The veteran forward is excited about his return to where he made his name as an NHL player. He was drafted by the Sabres in the second round of the 2001 draft. He worked his way through the minors and even played with current general manager Jason Botterill while with the Rochester Americans.
Pominville was a fan favorite at the time of his departure and scored one of the biggest goals in franchise history against the Ottawa Senators in the 2006 Eastern Conference semifinals. When asked if he ever thought he would return to Buffalo, Pominville said, “I never really thought about it.” He also talked about how some of his best memories as an NHL player came while playing in Buffalo during his conference call with the media.
He also talked about how some of his best memories as an NHL player came while playing in Buffalo during his conference call with the media.
The Quebec native was very happy about the opportunity to return to where he began his career.
“Buffalo was definitely a place me and my family was hoping for,” said Pominville. He went on to say, “We’ve always loved living in Buffalo, we’ve always loved the area.”
The part of the game that sometimes gets away from fans is understanding that these players are humans too. Pominville said the biggest thing for him was how his kids were going to react after he got the call. He indicated the reaction was positive from his family said with a laugh, “My little guy said, ‘Oh you’re going to have a chance to play with Jack Eichel!'”
Pominville will likely slot into the role of a third-line right winger for the Sabres. He should also contribute on the second power play. Even though the Sabres had the top unit in the league, most of the scoring came from the first unit. He’s also a guy that fits the type of player Botterill has preached that he’s looking for since he arrived: versatile. Botterill even acknowledged as much talking about the acquisition with the media. He can move up and down the lineup, provide defensive support and score goals in the offensive zone as well.
The veteran forward will also provide the leadership that the club may have lost in Foligno and the potential departure of captain Brian Gionta, who might not re-sign. Botterill said the Sabres are still having conversations with Gionta’s agent, but there doesn’t appear to be a fit for the 38-year-old.
This move has a bit of nostalgia tied to it with Pominville returning to where he was one of the fan favorites of a club that fans still latch to from nearly a decade ago. He’s not the same player he was when he departed but still has something left in the tank. In the right situation, Pominville could be a very useful addition to a team that struggled to get secondary scoring throughout the lineup.