Few players in the National Hockey League are as underrated as Jason Pominville.
Despite being one of the more consistent contributors in the league the past few seasons, and being the captain of the Buffalo Sabres, Pominville doesn’t come with the name recognition that other All Stars around the league do.
Pominville was drafted by the Sabres in the second round of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. The fact that he took so long to reach the NHL probably didn’t do him any favors in becoming a household name. He finally saw regular NHL action in 2005-2006 and began the season with the Sabres the following year.
Pominville’s best season came in just his second full season with the club. Despite concerns about his (lack of) size, Pominville posted 80 points that year, potting 27 goals and notching 53 assists. He’s reached at least the 60 point mark in every season since, with the exception of 2010-11, when he missed time due to a hit from Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson.
This year, Pominville finally got some recognition for his play. He was named an NHL All Star and represented the Sabres at the All Star Game in Ottawa. He went on to finish the season with 73 points, reaching the 30-goal mark for the second time in his career.
Although he’s probably not quite an “elite” player, Pominville isn’t far behind. He’s proven to be consistent and he’s very durable, missing only those nine games with a concussion in ’10-’11. Set to turn 30 this year, he’s something of a late bloomer, but I wouldn’t expect we’ve seen the last of him in an All Star Game.
It’s a small sample space, but Pominville has also represented the United States in international play, as a member of the 2008 World Championship squad, a team that finished sixth.
The Sabres have seen something of a facelift this summer, acquiring some grit for the lineup. Still with a lack of offense, Jason Pominville will continue to be a centerpiece of this team, especially in the offensive side. If Buffalo hopes to return to the playoffs sometime soon, much of the responsibility is going to fall on the captain. And Pominville has shown he’s up to the task.
Pominville grabs the puck from Alex Ovechkin, makes him look silly and scores against the Washington Capitals.
Pominville eliminates the Ottawa Senators from the postseason with an overtime goal. The Sabres went on to reach the Eastern Conference Finals before they were eliminated by the Carolina Hurricanes. Buffalo should consider a return to those sweaters.