Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise has played with and against forward Jason Pominville during his career and was excited to hear the news on Wednesday that his team had acquired the 30-year-old veteran in a trade with the Buffalo Sabres.
SOG: 94 | +/-: 1
While the price for Pominville was steep, the Wild are looking to maintain some level of offensive consistency down the stretch -- the team is third in the Western Conference with 21 wins and 44 points.
Minnesota shipped goalie Matt Hackett and forward Johan Larsson, as well as a 2013 first-round pick and 2014 second-round pick, to the Sabres in exchange for Pominville and Buffalo's 2014 fourth-round draft.
"He's a heck of a player," Parise said. "I actually played on a line with him a few years ago in the World Championships and didn't know much about him at the time, but we played really well together. I like the way he plays. I think he's going to help us a lot."
Parise has liked the type of game Pominville plays since he competed against him as a member of the New Jersey Devils. He skated with him with Team USA during the 2008 IIHF World Championship.
"He works hard," Parise said. "I just think you look at the way he's been used, on the power play, penalty kill … he's reliable. He puts pucks in the net, he makes plays, he gets points. I think he plays a really all-round game. That's what we're going to see."
Pominville, 30, spent his entire eight-year NHL career in Buffalo, which selected him the second round (No. 55) of the 2001 NHL Draft. He was named Sabres captain on Oct. 6, 2011, has twice scored 30 goals and has produced at least 20 goals on four occasions.
"Players like Jason aren't readily available and that's why we paid a significant price in terms of assets," Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher said. "Obviously, Buffalo felt they needed to move in a different direction. When I spoke to [Buffalo Sabres GM Darcy Regier], and found he may be available, we were aggressive in our pursuit of him. It's not every day that you can find a guy who's a captain in the NHL, that has scored 30 goals and is responsible defensively. We feel he's a very good fit for our team."
Pominville had to waive his no-movement clause to go to the Wild, and is signed for one more season with a salary-cap hit of $5.3 million.
"He's a heck of a player. I actually played on a line with him a few years ago in the world championships and didn't know much about him at the time, but we played really well together. I like the way he plays. I think he's going to help us a lot."
-- Zach Parise on Jason Pominville
Pominville has 185 goals and 456 points in 578 career games. In 37 games this season, the right-handed wing has 10 goals and 15 assists. He is tied for fifth in the NHL with 33 takeaways and led all Buffalo forwards in ice time per game at 20:57.
For Minnesota, the move marks a shift in deadline-day philosophy. Fletcher has spent years restocking the Wild's prospect cupboard in an effort to improve the on-ice product as well as to build a more consistent winner. The additions of Parise as well as defenseman Ryan Suter this summer in free agency certainly helped the cause, and Fletcher said he hopes the trade for Pominville does the same.
"After a few years of being sellers, it's nice to be buyers," Fletcher said. "It means we're trending in the right direction. Clearly we have work to do, I think our players have worked hard, and we put ourselves in position here to be more competitive this year and adding Jason will certainly push us down that road."
Because of logistics, Pominville will not be able to join the team in time for its game Wednesday at the San Jose Sharks. Fletcher said he hopes to have Pominville meet the team in time for its game Thursday at the Los Angeles Kings. The GM said it would be up to the player and coach Mike Yeo if he will make his debut then or Sunday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.