Minnesota Wild sign Jason Pominville, friend of Thomas Vanek, to 5-year extension

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The Minnesota Wild signed right wing Jason Pominville to a new 5-year contract on Thursday, so Lou Nanne can rest easy now.

The former GM recently lamented on 1500 ESPN Radio in Minneapolis that the deal hadn’t been done, despite Pominville having “an agent whose only client is Pominville.”

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Welp, now it’s done: Five years and $28 million for Pominville, an average cap hit of $5.6 million, according to Michael Russo. Pominville, who could have been a free agent next summer, remains the fourth-highest paid forward on the Wild behind Zach Parise ($7.538M cap hit), Dany Heatley ($7.5M) and Mikko Koivu ($6.75M).

He’s 30 years old and a consistent presence on the wing: You’re going to get an average of about 0.70-0.80 points per game and a forward that skates top six minutes (north of 20 minutes last season). He’s been a captain before with the Buffalo Sabres, and obviously fills a top line role with friend Zach Parise with the Wild.

Speaking of friends: Pominville is tight with Thomas Vanek of the Sabres, who actually drove him to the airport after the Wild acquired Pominville at least season’s trade deadline. “He knew there was a chance it would happen. But I think at the same time, he’s excited to move on to a really good team out in the west,” said Vanek at the time.

Vanek is in the last year of his contract with the Sabres, and the worst kept secret in hockey circles is that his next home could very well be Minnesota, where he played college hockey.

Does Pominville’s deal increase the likelihood that Vanek comes to the Wild? It can’t hurt those chances.

There was also speculation that the Sabres signed top line center Cody Hodgson to a long-term deal as a show of their commitment to winning to Vanek, in an attempt to sway him to stay.

In a related story, it's really, really, really good to be friends with Thomas Vanek, because you will get paid.

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