Hockey

Pominville commits to Sabres

Buffalo Sabres general manager Darcy Regier announced Thursday that the team has agreed on a five-year contract extension with young forward Jason Pominville.

Jason Pominville is staying in Buffalo.

Sabres general manager Darcy Regier announced Thursday that the team has agreed on a five-year contract extension with the emerging winger.

The deal, which binds Pominville to Buffalo through 2013-14, is worth $26.5 million US in total.

"He brings a lot of qualities," Sabres general manager Darcy Regier said of Pominville, who plays the power play and kills penalties. "He has a uniqueness to him ... You wouldn't point to any particular outstanding attribute all by itself, but when you put him together, he is a very, very good player."

Pominville, 25, was scheduled to become a restricted free agent at the end of this season, and his agent, Norman Dupont, had set a Friday deadline for an extension.

Thursday's deal marked the second time this off-season that Regier locked up one of his core youngsters. Goalie Ryan Miller, 28, inked a five-year extension in July worth $31.25 million US.

Pominville finished second in scoring for the high-flying Sabres last season, posting career highs in points (80) and assists (53) along with 27 goals and a team-high plus-16 rating.

The native of Repentigny, Que., collected just 20 penalty minutes in 82 games, and was named a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy as the NHL player who best combines sportsmanship and playing ability. He also finished the season as the Sabres' captain, wearing the "C" during March and April.

It's a far cry from the summer prior to the 2005-06 season, when the Sabres placed Pominville on waivers. No team claimed him, allowing Buffalo to send him to the minors.

But Pominville was back with the big club a few months later and finished the season with 18 goals and 12 assists in 57 games.

In the post-season, he scored the series-clinching goal in overtime in Game 5 of Buffalo's Eastern Conference semifinal series against Ottawa.

"I hope he's forgiven me for having waived him," Regier said with a laugh. "I laughed at it because, in part, I got lucky. Once in a while, you need to get lucky."

Pominville has forgiven but hasn't forgotten. He said the demotion has served as motivation to improve.

"Obviously, it was a disappointing time," he said. "It turned out to work out fine. I wouldn't change anything."

Chosen in the second round of the 2001 draft by Buffalo, Pominville has 178 points in 222 career games.

With files from the Associated Press

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