Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport
The Minnesota Wild gave up two quality prospects and their first-round pick in a strong 2013 NHL draft to acquire star winger Jason Pominville from the Buffalo Sabres at the trade deadline for additional scoring depth in the playoffs.
Minnesota barely made the playoffs despite losing three of its final five games. In that span, the Wild averaged just 1.6 goals scored per game and converted on just one power-play opportunity.
For the Wild to upset a Chicago Blackhawks team in the first round that is arguably the favorite to win the Stanley Cup and ranks second in goals scored, they need Pominville to provide timely scoring and offensive skill to the top-six forward group.
Pominville has not played since he took an elbow to the head from Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown on April 23 (Brown was suspended two games for the elbow), but he did skate with the team on Monday (per the team).
If he is healthy and plays in this series, Pominville will need to score goals and contribute to the power play because without at least two productive lines, Minnesota will get swept or eliminated in five games.
The Blackhawks have the ability to shut down the Wild's top line of Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu by having their top defensive pairing of Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook on the ice whenever that duo hops over the boards, so it's important for players like Pominville to give Minnesota some much-needed scoring depth in the playoffs.
Nicholas Goss is an NHL lead writer at Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter. He was a credentialed reporter at the 2011 Stanley Cup Final and 2012 NHL playoffs in Boston. All quotes obtained firsthand.