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Pominville 'fine' if NHL career ends without free agent contract: report

Forward wants to play 16th season if situation is right fit for family @NHLdotcom

Jason Pominville said he realizes he might not play in the NHL again but that it would be OK with him.

The 36-year-old forward, who is an unrestricted free agent, spoke about his future with The Buffalo News and reiterated that though he would like to play this season, he won't sign with just any team. 

"You realize it might be close to the end, so you definitely think about it," Pominville, who played the past two seasons with the Buffalo Sabres, told the newspaper Monday. "I've had time to reflect and see how I feel and see how the body feels. I think it's clear in my mind that if something pops up that is a good opportunity and makes sense family-wise I would definitely consider it for sure. If not, I'm fine with the way things ended."

Pominville said he has drawn interest from teams but that there hasn't been an opportunity he would "hop on right away."

In a report by The Athletic this month, Pominville said a return to the Sabres would be "ideal," and his agent, Normand Dupont, said they would "listen carefully" to an offer from the Montreal Canadiens. Pominville is a native of Repentigny, Quebec, less than an hour's drive from Bell Centre. He said he is reluctant to uproot his family from Buffalo for what could be one year.

Pominville had 31 points (16 goals, 15 assists) in 73 games last season and has 727 points (293 goals, 434 assists) in 1,060 regular-season games and 51 points (21 goals, 30 assists) in 81 Stanley Cup Playoff games over 15 seasons. Chosen by the Sabres in the second round (No. 55) of the 2001 NHL Draft, he played his first nine seasons with Buffalo before being traded to the Minnesota Wild on April 3, 2013. The Wild traded him to the Sabres on June 30, 2017.

Pominville is 10th in Sabres history with 217 goals in 733 games.

He said he believes that so many prominent restricted free agents remaining unsigned is part of the reason he is without a contract. Those players include forwards Mitchell Marner of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Mikko Rantanen of the Colorado Avalanche, Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor of the Winnipeg Jets, Brayden Point of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Brock Boeser of the Vancouver Canucks and Matthew Tkachuk of the Calgary Flames, and defensemen Ivan Provorov of the Philadelphia Flyers, Charlie McAvoy of the Boston Bruins and Zach Werenski of the Columbus Blue Jackets. 

Notable unrestricted free agents who remain unsigned include forwards Joe Thornton, 40; Patrick Marleau, who turns 40 on Sept. 15; and Justin Williams, who turns 38 on Oct. 4. 

NHL training camps open in two weeks.

"There is a little bit of uncertainty, but I kind of figured from the start it would probably take a little time," Pominville said. "I know the last few years guys my age it takes a little longer. Some of them are still undecided if they want to play, so it usually takes a little time."

Tweet from @LLysowski: ICYMI, Jason Pominville doesn't sound optimistic that he'll return to the Sabres this season.More from Pominville on why he's waiting for the right opportunity and what he plans to do if he doesn't sign with a team:

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