The Minnesota Wild will have a serious decision to make shortly.
After a disastrous start to the 2015-16 NHL season, Wild forward Jason Pominville has left his team with a difficult choice. The 33-year-old didn't score his first goal of the season until 22 games in, and finished the year with only 11 goals and 36 points in 75 games. For a player that comes with a cap hit of $5.6 million dollars per season, these number simply will not cut it.
“Last year it was just the start I had,” Pominville said during a Q & A with the Minnesota Star Tribune. “I’m not even too worried about the rest of it. You get off to the start I had, and name me one guy who had my start who winds up having a good year. It’s tough to get behind the 8-ball. You lose confidence, you’re trying to find your play and get back to where you’ve had success, but you get away from it because you’re trying to overdo things or overthinking. I just need to get off to a better start, and my points will be where they normally would be.”
What puts the Wild in a proverbial pickle, is the fact that his high cap hit may force the team to buyout Pominville. Wild beat reporter Michael Russo explains that if the club were to buyout the veteran forward they would be stuck with $877,777 of dead money on the cap next year. However, if they allow Pominville to stay on and hope for a bounce-back, it could blow up in their faces significantly. If they were to buyout his contract at the end of next season instead, they would be looking at a $4.627,777 cap hit in 2017-18. This is quite the steep price to pay in hopes Pominville solves his scoring woes.
Despite his dip in production this season, Pominville has proven himself to be very valuable in the past. He is only one year removed from an 18-goal, 54-point season, and hit 30 goals and 30 assists only two years ago.
This is how a buyout of Pominville's contract breaks down on a yearly basis (via General Fanager):
This will be a crucial decision for the Wild in the coming months.