Obtained in a trade deadline deal in 2013, Jason Pominville has found a home along the right side of 22 year old Mikael Granlund. He and Granlund formed a dynamic pair early in the season that allowed Pominville to capture the team lead in goals. Being the benefactor of the emerging talent that is number 64, he was able to post 30 goals and 30 assists on the season and produced his sixth best season of his career.
But what should we expect from the vet?
Not counting the '03-'04 season in which he made his NHL debut with a lone, solitary game, he scored a minimum of 60 points in every season except for the 2010-11 season and the lockout shortened season of 2012-13. In October of 2010, Pominville was sidelined for 9 games after a hit from Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjamlarsson. He managed to finish that season with 52 points in 73 games played. Of course the lockout messed with every player's stats in 2013, but Pominville produced 34 points in the 47 games between Buffalo and Minnesota.
Minnesota got a proven commodity when they sent promising young prospects to Buffalo in return for Pominville. His consistency and veteran presence in the locker room was exactly the kind of player they could use with the recent influx of young talent. His goals per 60 minute production 5-on-5 has been near or over 1.0 in the past four seasons, with the lowest in that range coming in at 0.84 G/60 in 2013. The highest came last season at 1.10 G/60.
In case you didn't know, the Wild acquired Pominville's long time teammate/friend Thomas Vanek on July 1st. With the prospect of being placed on a line with Granlund and either Zach Parise or Vanek, Pominville should be licking his chops. To be on a line with Granlund's creativity and vision, Vanek's scoring prowess, or Parise's tenacity and nose for the net, it would seem that any scenario would be a win-win for him.
Pominville's shooting percentage was a nice 13.3 percent in 2013-14, and was +10 percent the last four seasons, +11 percent in the last three. Sure, he will turn age 32 this season and fans should expect a dip in production as he ages. Maybe we see a slip in shooting percentage, but when you're starting at a high 12-13 percentile, 9-10 percent shouldn't be seen as unrealistic as a slight regression. There is nothing in his career that shows that his production could slip any further in one year.
With a mix of players like Jochen Hecht, Daniel Paille, and Paul Gaustad on his line Pominville was able to pot 80 points (27 G, 53 A) in 2007-08. What should Wild fans expect from him when there isn't a Dany Heatley weighing down the left wing for half the season? Could he match or surpass his career high of 80 points?