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Exit Interviews: Jason Pominville

The offseason means the end of Wild games, but for the players, the work is never done. With Exit Interviews, Hockey Wilderness takes each player and reviews their season, highlighting what we liked seeing from them over the year, and pointing out what can be improved to take the next step next year.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Mr. Pominville, welcome. Please come in and sit down. We'll begin your evaluation immediately.

Overall your season was fairly strong, Jason. You finished second on the team in points with 54 and was our fifth leading scorer with 18 goals. You also chipped in 14 points on the power play this season which was fourth best on the team. However, what might be the most impressive aspect of your season was the fact that you played all 82 games for the second year in a row. With all the injuries and illnesses that seem to set this team back year after year, your durability has been greatly appreciated even if it doesn't get acknowledged as much it should. It seems that you also suffered from a little bit of bad puck luck as your shooting percentage for the season was 7.1%, considerably lower than your career average of 11.2%. The first half of the season was tough on nearly every player offensively as the team really struggled early on but you did well to recover in the second half when your line with Zach Parise and Mikael Granlund got going.

Expectations for Next Year

I think it would be safe to say that we expect more of you in the goal scoring department. We know this season was a bit of an anomaly with the low shooting percentage, but considering your position on the team (playing on the first line, first power play unit, and getting the third most time-on-ice per game of any forward on the team) we expect more. We would also really like to see that great chemistry your line with Granlund and Parise has shown more consistently throughout the season and especially early in the season. Given that this is now your third year with the Wild organization, we feel that this is something that needs to happen. We have made a big commitment to you as a big piece of this team's veteran core, your 5 year 28 million contract extension is proof of that, and we'd like to see a bigger payoff for our investment next season.

Off-season Homework

1. Shoot lots and lots of pucks. Work on your one-timer and getting it on net through traffic. Study tape of the team's power play last season and see where improvements can be made, especially finding where the shooting lanes are and how to best take advantage of those windows of opportunity to get the puck on net. Additionally, be more selfish with the puck. You have a big shot and it could be used more. We've seen you give opposing goaltenders fits many times coming down the wing and taking a clapper. We know you have the kind of shot that can beat goalies from that position and even if the shot doesn't go in initially, it usually creates a big rebound for one of your line mates to capitalize on.

2. Spend the off-season training with Parise and Granlund as much as you can. We know that three of you have great chemistry together and when your line is on it's easily the best on the team. The issue over the past couple seasons is that your line hasn't been consistently playing to level we know you're capable of. We need the three of you to focus in and give us that legit first line play that gives opposing teams headaches right from the start next year. We can't afford to wait around for your line to click because, as you know, every single point is crucial and it's really hard to play catch-up in the second half of the season.

3. Don't forget what it felt like to see this season end at the hands of the Blackhawks for the third year in a row. Don't forget the embarrassment of being swept in the second round of the playoffs. Internalize those feelings and use it as motivation to get over the hump next season. Come into the season hungry, play with a chip on your shoulder, and be the first line, 30-goal scoring winger we know you are.