Niagara Gazette

Sports

April 4, 2013

Sabres send Pominville to Wild for prospects, picks

Niagara Gazette —

BUFFALO — Aiming for their first playoff run in 10 years, the Minnesota Wild weren’t afraid to go big and get a player like Jason Pominville for the push.

The Buffalo Sabres saw another opportunity to restock for the future, amid a season that’s fast failing to meet expectations.

The Sabres traded their captain and a fourth-round draft pick in 2014 to the Wild before the NHL deadline on Wednesday for prospects Johan Larsson and Matt Hackett plus a first-round draft pick in 2013 and a second-round draft pick in 2014.

That’s a high price, but the Wild were willing to part with some assets for a valuable two-way player in their attempt to reach the postseason for the first time in five years. They haven’t won a playoff series since 2003.

Sabres general manager Darcy Regier’s high-priced roster has been one of the league’s biggest letdowns this season, in danger of missing the playoffs for a second straight year and the fourth time in six seasons.

“It’s going to involve rolling back a little bit organizationally,” Regier said. “Acquire the assets, the players, the draft picks and do it in a way that’s going to allow us to group enough young players together, or players together, in order to win a championship.”

Pominville is an eight-year veteran and a six-time 20-goal scorer with significant special teams experience who could join Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise on the Wild’s first line. He played next to Parise in 2008 with the U.S. national team at the world championship.

“We played really well together. I like the way he plays. I think he’s going to help us a lot,” Parise said in San Jose, Calif., before the Wild played the Sharks. “He works hard. I just think you look at the way he’s been used. Power play, penalty kill, reliable. He puts pucks in the net, he makes plays, he gets points. I think he plays a really all-around game. That’s what we’re going to see.”

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