The Detroit Red Wings should consider signing Jason Pominville to a one-year deal.
Pominville is a 36 year-old right winger, who is coming off of a two-year deal with the Buffalo Sabres. In the past two seasons, he played in 155 games and tallied 65 points (32 goals and 33 assists). In terms of Goals/60, Pominville registered 1.08 Goals/60 at even strength last season. When you look at his 2017-2018 campaign, you will see that Pominville was able to significantly increase his Goals/60 (0.65 in 2017-18).
Possession Metrics & Wins Above Replacement
When you look at Pominville’s puck possession metrics, he produced quality corsi and fenwick. In the below chart, you can check out Pominville’s corsi-for and fenwick-for percentages from the last five seasons.
chart courtesy of Josh Tessler, data from hockey-reference.com
Based on the data from the chart, Pominville’s corsi-for and fenwick-for percentages are pretty consistent. Over the past two seasons, his corsi-for and fenwick-for percentages have dropped slightly, but keep in mind that the Buffalo Sabres have not been effective with puck possession. The Sabres have had issues creating scoring chances and expected goals over the last two seasons. In the Sabres’ 2017-18 campaign, they were tied with the Colorado Avalanche for the lowest 5v5 expected goals for in the NHL, per MoneyPuck.com. The Sabres offensive production increased in 2018-19, but their 5v5 expected goals was still lower than many teams including the Philadelphia Flyers, the Boston Bruins and the Minnesota Wild.
In addition, Pominville is coming off a strong season WAR-wise (Wins Above Replacement). In the visual below from Sean Tierney/data from Evolving-Wild, you will see that Pominville’s WAR per minute rate was one of the best on the Sabres last season. His WAR-per-minute was higher than Jack Eichel, Casey Mittelstadt, Conor Sheary, Kyle Okposo and Sam Reinhart.
Aside from Pominville’s production, he would be a solid veteran leader in Detroit.
The Red Wings’ divisional rival, the Toronto Maple Leafs brought Patrick Marleau to town a few years ago. Marleau’s maturity and leadership rubbed off on Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. Matthews and Marner had the opportunity to learn from one of the most successful wingers in the NHL.
While Pominville’s resume is not even close to Marleau’s, he was still pretty impressive in his younger days. If you look back on his earlier seasons with the Sabres (2006-2010), he had four consecutive seasons with 60+ points. I can not confirm that Pominville’s veteran leadership will rub off on several of the young Red Wings, but it is worth a try. Keep in mind that the Red Wings have 9 forwards under the age of 30 including Dylan Larkin, Michael Rasmussen, Dominic Turgeon, Tyler Bertuzzi and Andreas Athanasiou.
What About Valtteri Filppula Or Bringing Back Thomas Vanek?
I’m sure that some Red Wings fans might ask why is there a need to sign Jason Pominville when the team inked Valtteri Filppula. They might also ask why should the Red Wings sign Pominville, when they can go out and sign Thomas Vanek, who has more familiarity with the Red Wings roster.
Earlier this off-season, the Red Wings decided to bring Filppula back to town on a two-year deal with a 3 million AAV. While Filppula does have familiarity with the Red Wings, he does not have much captaincy experience. He did serve as an alternate captain during his brief stint with the Philadelphia Flyers, but his captaincy experience is pretty limited.
On the other hand, Pominville served as captain in Buffalo for a few seasons. In some of those seasons, he was a rotating captain, but he did serve as captain of the Sabres for a season and a half. Pominville was also an alternate captain in Buffalo, so it is evident that he is a proven leader.
Now, let’s talk about Vanek. Thomas Vanek has been an efficient offensive weapon throughout his time in the NHL, but his performance last season wasn’t great. In the visual below from CJ Turtoro/data from Corey Sznajder, you can see that Pominville was far more efficient in shot contributions and possession exits. Vanek’s possEntry% was higher than Pominville, but all-around Pominville is more effective.
Sign Pominville To A One-Year Deal
With all that being said, there is no downside to signing Pominville to a one-year deal. Even though he is getting older, Pominville is a proven veteran leader and still can produce in all three zones. Worst case, Pominville doesn’t work out and he is a free agent on July 1, 2020.
stats/data from moneypuck, hockey-reference, Corey Sznajder and Evolving-Wild
visuals from CJ Turtoro, Josh Tessler and Sean Tierney