Jason Pominville has come under serious fire from beat writers, bloggers, and fans alike the last two seasons. After coming to Minnesota in a trade deadline deal during the lockout shortened season of 2013, his nine points in the final 10 games helped the Wild
earn back-in to its first playoff berth since 2007-08. The Wild was dreadful the final month of the season, but the addition of Pominville allowed the Wild steal just enough games to gain the 8th seed by way of a tie breaker over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Pominville would miss the majority of the post-season after suffering from a concussion following a dirty elbow from the Los Angeles Kings' Dustin Brown.
Analytic hirings bode well for the Wild's future
It was announced on Tuesday that the Minnesota Wild had officially hired two analysts to their front office. Andrew Thomas and Alexandra Mandrycky are well-known on hockey twitter, perhaps best for their website War on Ice.
But that didn't stop Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher from signing the 30-year old former captain to a five-year, $28 million contract extension. Set to expire in 2018-19, the $5.6 average annual value and cap hit seemed like a decent price for a nine year vet that's 30 years old even with a somewhat overly lengthy term. The 2001 3rd round selection of the Buffalo Sabres (55th overall) hadn't dipped below 50 points in a season since the 2005-06. It seemed like a sure bet then and being a former captain, it provided that much more character in the locker room that featured some other former and current captains like Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu, and Ryan Suter and a number of 20-somethings breaking into the line-up.
Pominville proved to be a good bet the following year when he was placed on a line with Mikael Granlund - the heralded Finnish league superstar that was billed as a whiz with the puck. Pominville scored 30 goals and had 30 assists while being a fixture in the top six and helping the budding star emerge.
He then followed up the campaign with 18 goals and 54 points in 2014-15. The dip in points could be attributed to Granlund taking a step back and taking into account his own regression in shooting percentage from 13.3% the previous season to just 7.1%.
Then.....the bottom dropped out. Number 29 has been on a slump of epic proportions around these parts. He has five goals on the season and didn't score his first goal until November 28th of this season and is on pace for just nine on the season. Nine goals would be his absolute career worst. Now fans want to move on from Pominville and avoid anymore lengthy streaks of zero to little production.
Remember that five-year deal he signed in 2013? Yeah, the one I described above. That came with a No-Movement clause for the duration of the contract. Not only does he have to waive his no-trade clause to be traded, he cannot be buried in the AHL without consent either. He cannot be moved. So the logical thing would be to buy-out his contract, right?
Since Mark Parrish (and I like Mark Parrish #oneofus, Bloomington, MN guy, and I thought he still could play and offer something to the team at the time of his buy-out) had the remaining three years of his five-year $13 million deal bought out by then GM Doug Risebrough in 2008, I've been jaded by lengthy buy-outs. First and foremost, the team would be paying a player that isn't playing for them. According to NHL buy-out rules:
A buyout is paid over twice the number of years remaining on the player's contract, at a rate of one-third of the total salary remaining for players under 26, and at a rate of two-thirds of the total salary remaining for players 26 and older.
Courtesy of GeneralFanager.com
This means that Mark Parrish stopped getting paid roughly $0.927 million per year by the Minnesota Wild in July of 2014. The Wild saved slightly less than $2 million dollars in cap space the year of the buy-out. LESS THAN $2 freaking MILLION!!!
If the Wild was to buy-out the contract of Pominville after this season, they'd be on the hook for two-thirds of the remaining $13.75 million of his contract for six years. That means the Wild would pay him an estimated $1.53 million per season until 2022. The total cap savings would again be less than $2 million over those six extra years.
Sometimes, it's better to bite the bullet. You might as well hope you can get something in terms of production from Pominville until his contract expires. Will he likely have earned that salary over the lifetime of that contract? No, not likely. The General Manager has already done enough handcuffing with handing out No-Movement and No-Trade clauses like candy. Why make an already difficult situation last longer than it needs to with a buy-out of the Pominville's contract?