Jason Pominville didn’t suddenly forget how to score goals last season, although at times it had to feel that way for the 32-year-old right wing.
In 82 games, Pominville scored 18 times, the lowest goal total of his 12-year career in a nonlockout, full season. He also tied for his highest shot total with 252 and posted his lowest shooting percentage, .071.
“Obviously I want more,” said Pominville, one year removed from leading the Wild with 30 goals. “It was just one of those years where it’s frustrating because I’d get a lot of looks, I’d get a lot of opportunities, had a lot of shots.
“It’s just one of those years where it wouldn’t go in, so hopefully I can get off to a good start and get a groove and maintain it.”
In town for three weeks now, Pominville looked outstanding during informal skates and has gotten off to a great start in camp. After a strong Day 1, Pominville scored twice in a 5-0 scrimmage win in front of 3,000 Wild fans Saturday. Linemate Zach Parise scored once and defenseman Matt Dumba twice.
“You hope the math usually evens out, but last year just wasn’t the case,” Pominville said. “How do you fix it? You just keep shooting and eventually it’ll find a way. In most cases, if you generate that many shots, you’ll end up getting results.”
Pominville led the Wild with 84 missed nets, and that doesn’t include the many shots he shanked or flubbed. But Pominville is one of those players with a shoot-first mentality, and that means even if the puck is rolling or bouncing.
“I try to get it there as quick as I can,” he said.
Coach Mike Yeo said he sensed that Pominville’s confidence waned at times last season, so he’s excited by the way his hands and shots look so early in camp.
“He’s got to stay with it.”
Dumba in good spot
The Jonas Brodin-Dumba defense pairing looked dynamic Saturday. Brodin was much more noticeable offensively, and Dumba was physical and blasted home two goals.
“I think with Brods, we’re seeing what an advantage it can be for him in the offensive zone playing his left side,” Yeo said. “He’s much more active, and just as far as receiving pucks and being a threat and creating plays, that pairing led to a lot of zone time and offense.”
In better form
Center Erik Haula, who got off on a bad note last fall when he came into camp out of shape, has impressed so far. “He’s certainly in my eyes well ahead of where he was [last] year at this time,” Yeo said.
Yeo said Haula has “experienced the success and … the hard parts.” He said that better prepared him heading into the summer the right way. “With what went on last year, he was very motivated and I think it’s shown so far,” Yeo said.
Just another camper
Roster hopeful Tyler Graovac underwhelmed during his first two days of camp.
“He can’t just blend in, and that’s what I would say he’s done so far,” Yeo said of the 22-year-old center.
“He has to find a way to be a little more impactful on the ice, whether that’s using his size and skating ability to be a presence defensively and to separate guys and to create turnovers, or whether it’s the skill and his speed he uses to create offense. He needs to stand out if he wants to make this team.”
• Forward Zack Mitchell assisted on two goals Saturday and “caught our attention,” said Yeo, adding Mitchell likely earned his first career exhibition game.
• New Wild center Zac Dalpe will miss the start of training camp for family reasons. Forward Grayson Downing will miss two to three weeks with a lower-body injury suffered at the prospects tournament in Traverse City, Mich.