The New York Islanders traded some valuable picks for JG Pageau this morning, so let’s look at ahead at how his addition may shape the lineup moving forward.
This addition may have its supporters and critics (that reaction has been covered in other posts here) but he certainly checks some critical boxes for the New York Islanders. In this post let’s forget personal trade reaction opinions and look purely at how the trade for Jean-Gabriel Pageau will shape the forward lines.
It’s important to look at not only the ideal full-strength roster but also the current reality, without mainstays like Casey Cizikas.
I agree with Brendan Burke’s savvy prediction for a fully-healthy line up that Brassard moves to the second line right wing. It may not be a long-term answer to the wing but Barry Trotz has seen it work, and he does favor Bailey as his most versatile forward that can play any line, any position.
But for today’s reality, we’ll replace Cizikas and Clutterbuck with Komarov and Kuhnhackl to fill out the fourth line.
Keep in mind that if you give up a first, second and third-round pick you need to put that player in a position to succeed. Already giving him a young unproven player (whether MDC or Bellows) doesn’t do that, so the addition of a playmaking winger who has played top-line minutes feels like the right move.
Lee – Barzal – Eberle
Beauvillier – Nelson – Brassard
MDC/Bellows – Pageau – Bailey
Martin – Komarov – Kuhnhackl
Scratch: Johnston, MDC/Bellows
With a Healthy Lineup
Brendan Burke anticipates the below lineup on the fully healthy Isles roster, with Brassard moving back to the wing with Nelson and Beauvillier where they had good success this season.
The other likely option I would see is a less dramatic move, but also a less inspiring line for Pageau to play with, simply sliding Brassard over to the third line wing.
Lee – Barzal – Eberle
Beauvillier – Nelson – Bailey
MDC/Bellows – Pageau – Brassard
Martin – Cizikas – Clutterbuck
Scratch: Johnston, Kuhnhackl
No matter where the Isles go with the lineup, it is hard to argue that the forward group got better. You may have your issues with the value paid for Pageau or how good he truly is, but it would be hard to argue that he’s not an upgrade over Brassard at 3C.
Lineups are a hard prediction to make under Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz, but this feels like the most likely outcomes moving forward.