The Free Press, Mankato, MN


April 3, 2013

Wild surrender picks, prospects for Pominville



Pominville is in the second-to-last year of his contract, with a $5.5 million salary each season. The 30-year-old right wing, a second-round draft pick by Buffalo in 2001, had 25 points including 10 goals in 27 games for the Sabres this season. He’s sixth in the NHL with 33 takeaways and 11th in the league with an average of 20 minutes and 53 seconds of ice time per game. He was picked for the All-Star game last year.

Hackett and Larsson will be sent to Buffalo’s AHL affiliate in Rochester, N.Y. The 23-year-old Hackett was a third-round pick in 2009. He has 13 career NHL starts. The 20-year-old Larsson was a second-round pick in 2010. He played in one game last season for the Wild.

The underachieving Sabres are retooling for the future after making four trades in the last three weeks, including defensemen Robyn Regehr to Los Angeles and Jordan Leopold to St. Louis over the past five days. 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.

Longtime coach Lindy Ruff was fired after a 6-10-1 start, and the Sabres were in 12th place in the Eastern Conference when Wednesday began despite ending Pittsburgh’s 15-game winning streak the day before.

Regier, on a conference call with reporters, said he wouldn’t use the “r-word” but acknowledged the beginning of a “process” to restock this sputtering team. High draft picks are good way to start.

“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.”

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