There just seems to be something about San Jose and blockbuster deals for Minnesota Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher. As the Minnesota Wild prepares to take on the Sharks tonight, Fletcher pulled off a deadline day deal that will give the Wild another veteran forward who can put the puck in the net.
The Wild has acquired Buffalo Sabres forward Jason Pominville and Buffalo's fourth-round draft pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft in exchange for goaltender Matt Hackett, forward Johan Larsson and the Wild's 2013 first-round draft pick and a second-round pick in 2014.
Pominville has spent his entire eight-year NHL career in Buffalo. The 30-year-old adds veteran leadership and offensive punch to the Wild roster. He was named the Sabres captain on Oct. 6, 2011. Twice in his career the right wing has scored 30 goals and 20 four times.
The right wing is another offensive threat in the Wild lineup. WildTV has an exclusive interview with Minnesota GM Chuck Fletcher about today’s deal.
“He’s been an All Star in the NHL,” Fletcher said. “We’re adding a player that is a high-end offensive talent, yet, a player like many of our other top forwards that has a strong work ethic and plays well defensively.”
Wild forward Zach Parise knows a lot about Pominville’s game, having faced him several times as a member of the New Jersey Devils. He also skated on a line with him during the 2007-08 World Championships.
“I think you look at the way he’s been used,” Parise said. “He plays power play, he plays penalty kill. He puts pucks in the net, he makes plays and he gets points.
“He plays an all-around game.”
In his 578-game NHL career, Pominville has 456 points (185-271=456). In 37 games this season, the right-handed shooter has 10 goals and 15 assists. He also ranks T-5th amongst NHL skaters in Takeaways (33) and led Buffalo forwards in ice time (20:57 TOI).
“It’s really exciting for us,” Parise said. “It gives you the sense that they belive in the way we’ve been playing and our team. Now it’s up to us to elevate our game even more.
“(The addition) gives us a good look and a lot of good offensive players.”
Pominville collected 73 points (30-43=73) in 82 games last season and added four points (1-3=4) in five playoff contests. He made his NHL debut on Dec. 27, 2003 at Washington and scored his first career NHL goal against Olaf Kolzig on Nov. 27, 2005 in Washington. He was selected by Buffalo in the second round (No. 55 overall) of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.
Hackett and Larsson were both with the Wild and called off the ice during the team’s morning skate in San Jose. Both have appeared in one game with Minnesota. Larsson made his NHL debut against Detroit on Feb. 17. Hackett’s lone start was on Friday against Dallas.
Goaltender Darcy Kuemper is expected to be recalled and is expected to backup Niklas Backstrom tonight. The team takes on the Sharks at 9:30 p.m. CST and will be broadcast locally on FOX Sports North and nationally on NBC Sports Network. Radio coverage will be on KFAN 100.3FM.