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The Sabres Observer

The Most Underappreciated Sabre

Would you be interested, Sabres devotee, in seeing your team acquire a player who averages more points per game than Pavel Datsyuk, Jason Spezza, and Jonathan Toews?  How about considering a proven veteran who has been hovering near the top ten in league scoring all season?  And he’s talented enough to play on your top power play AND penalty kill units to boot.

Don’t bother firing up the #DoSomethingDarcy twitter hashtag for this one, because that player is already here.  His name is Jason Pominville, and he’s the most underappreciated talent on this team.

I’ve been hearing a lot this season from media people and talk show callers about who the current and future core players are in the Buffalo organization.  Give or take a name or two, it’s been pretty much the same list: Thomas Vanek, Tyler Myers, Ryan Miller, Christian Ehrhoff, Brayden McNabb, Zack Kassian, and Marcus Foligno. 

It’s nothing short of inconceivable to me that Pominville wouldn’t be put into this mix.

Does anyone notice that he’s having a career year and is on pace for 84 points?  Since the lockout (no, not that one, the other one), only Daniel Briere and Pat LaFontaine have done better in a given season.

Pominville may not be the vocal in-your-face captain that you wanted, but taking on that responsibility seems to have pushed his game up a notch.  He isn’t the flashy or most noticeable Sabre on the ice, but he is the most versatile.

There’s been so much chatter the past few years about finding Thomas Vanek a linemate to feed him the puck and maximize his abilities, yet that guy is already here.  It isn’t out of the question that #26 may finish the season with career high numbers himself.

Fans and media in this town value elite scoring Sabres forwards like warm days in January, and many of us are too quick to start and end that list with Vanek.  When a guy like Pominville is putting up the third-best offensive numbers in Buffalo since 1994-95, it should be harder than this to take him for granted.

Follow The Sabres Observer on twitter: @DaveDavisHockey

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Comments

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In comparing Vanek and Pominville—what I find most interesting is the symmetry between the season-to-season point totals. They’re practically identical, displaced by one season. Starting from 2006-2007 with Vanek (84 points) and 2007-2008 with Pominville (80 points), the following three seasons mirror one another. This season, Pominville could certainly finish close to Vanek’s point total in 2010-2011. Interesting when you consider how each players reputation has changed over the years.

Posted by PKB on 01/04/12 at 03:23 PM ET

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Would you be interested, Sabres devotee, in seeing your team acquire a player who averages more points per game than Pavel Datsyuk

That’s an interesting thing to say, mainly because it isn’t true.

Posted by Garth on 01/04/12 at 06:00 PM ET

@DaveDavisHockey's avatar

They’re both averaging 1.03 ppg this season.  Pominville has 13 goals & Datsyuk has 12 in 39 games each.  Do you feel better now?

Posted by @DaveDavisHockey from Buffalo, NY on 01/04/12 at 06:12 PM ET

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They’re both averaging 1.03 ppg this season.  Pominville has 13 goals & Datsyuk has 12 in 39 games each.  Do you feel better now?

So that means Pominville is averaging more points per game?

Posted by Garth on 01/04/12 at 06:22 PM ET

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I’ll still take Datsyuk or Toews, as both players offer a whole lot more than just scoring. That plus/minus of -4 ain’t helping the case there.

Posted by pstumba on 01/04/12 at 06:46 PM ET

@DaveDavisHockey's avatar

I really wasn’t trying to make a case that Pominville is a better player than either of those two guys.  But the -4 is relative to his underperforming team.

Posted by @DaveDavisHockey from Buffalo, NY on 01/04/12 at 07:18 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

I’m giving a freebie on this one.  Your GM was stupid enough to sign Leino in a role that involved a responsibility to perform.  Have a great coach, all star goalie (I imagine getting steamrolled and no one sticking up for you will shake your goaltenders confidence/compete level) Vanek is a 40 goal scorer, HAD a good Dcore… It’ll get better there in Buffallo Dave, hang in there.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 01/04/12 at 07:47 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Getting off the side point, I agree that Pominville is greatly underappreciated.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 01/04/12 at 07:55 PM ET

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About The Sabres Observer

Dave Davis has covered the Buffalo Sabres for various NHL accredited websites and newspapers since 2003.  He was the senior writer and Sabres correspondent for The Fourth Period, covered hockey for Western New York Sports and Leisure Magazine, and has had articles featured on NHL.com, FOX Sports, Yahoo Sports and in New York Sportscene.  Sabres news and notes can be found on his Twitter page.

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Email: dd@kuklaskorner.com Twitter: [@DaveDavisHockey]