The New York Islanders and GM Lou Lamoriello made a splash early in Monday’s trade deadline, as they dealt a conditional 2020 1st round pick, a 2020 2nd round pick, and a 2022 conditional 3rd round pick to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for coveted center Jean-Gabriel (J-G) Pageau. The 2020 1st round pick becomes a 2021 1st if the Islanders miss the playoffs, win the draft lottery, and select Top 3. If the Islanders win the Stanley Cup in 2020, then the Senators will get the 2022 3rd round pick. Should they fail to win it, the Senators wouldn’t get the pick.
Hours after the deal became official, Pageau signed a 6-year, $30 million extension with the Islanders ($5 million AAV). While this appears to be a good contract and a job well done by Lou, Cap Friendly has the Islanders at $11.2 million in cap space with Matt Martin, Derick Brassard, Tom Kuhnhackl, Andy Greene, Thomas Greiss, Matt Barzal, Ryan Pulock, and Devon Towes to sign. The Islanders will need to be busy following the playoffs to shed more salary, as they will most likely be unable to keep the big names (Barzal, Pulock, and Greiss) with only that amount of money. We won’t need to think about that problem for another few months until around draft day. For now, let’s discuss the player they acquired to help them make a long run in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau was a 4th round pick by the Ottawa Senators in the 2011 NHL draft. He has a career AB score of +1.85, and he registered an individual score above +3.9 in three of his first four NHL seasons, the other being a +1.07. However, over the last two seasons, Pageau has actually been a negative player at -1.92 and -1.29. On a positive note, those scores were among the higher ones on the two respective Senators teams, as the 2017-18 Senators had a team score of -53.98, and the 2018-19 Senators had the worst team score in franchise history (that we have access to) at -89.58. The fact that Pageau was still able to put up respectable numbers in those disastrous seasons AB wise shows the quality of player the Islanders are getting. This season, he has set a career-high in goals with 25 and is two points away from tying his career-high in points, with around 20 games remaining in the regular season. Pageau has an impressive penalty taken/drawn ratio at 6:15, and an equally impressive giveaway/takeaway ratio at 24:29. Pageau also had the best +/- number at +10 of any Senators player this season and was in the Top 3 on the team in hits with 116. Pageau obviously must have made a good impression on new coach DJ Smith, as was averaging almost three more minutes per game than his previous career average of 16:13.
Pageau’s Islanders debut went about as well as it could have, as his goal put the Islanders only down one late in the 2nd period. He also got into a fight with Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba and won 71% of his faceoffs. The Islanders made a comeback late in the game, as Brock Nelson scored with under a minute to go in the game to secure a needed point in the standings for the Islanders. Their efforts would ultimately fall short, as Mika Zibanejad won the game in overtime for the Rangers after a great all-around play by Artemi Panarin. The Islanders currently hold the 1st wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference and trail the Metropolitan Division-leading Washington Capitals by seven points, while having a game in hand. It will be an intense conclusion of the regular season, as we can’t wait to see how all of the playoff races turn out. Much more to come.