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Islanders trade for Jean-Gabriel Pageau was worth it

Jean-Gabriel Pageau #44 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Jean-Gabriel Pageau #44 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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The New York Islanders paid a big price to get center Jean-Gabriel Pageau at the trade deadline and it was worth every penny.

Seven months ago, saying the Jean-Gabriel Pageau trade was worth it outside of the New York Islanders echo chamber was pure heresy. Paying a first, second, and third-round pick for a player having a career year with career ice-time was mad.

Playing on a talent deprived Ottawa Senators side, Pageau logged just over 19 minutes a game as the team’s number one center. A career-high. With 24 goals and 40 points in 60 games, he was on pace to crush his career-high production of 43 points from 2015-16.

The Islanders paid to acquire Pageau, but it was worth it.

Comparable

To get Pageau, the Isles sent a 2020 first-round pick that was top-3 protected and a 2020 second round-pick. A 2022 third-round pick could have gone Ottawa’s way if the Islanders had won the 2020 Stanely Cup.

That certainly sounds like a lot for a third-line center but consider the trade for Martin Hanzal a few years back. Here’s what the Minnesota Wild gave up to get Hanzal at the trade deadline:

In 608 games with the Coyotes before his trade to Minnesota, Hanzal had 117 goals and 313 points (0.51 PP/G) with an average 51.7 FOW% and 17:59 of ice time. He hit more than 40+ points once and never hit 20 goals prior to his trade.

Keep in mind that Hanzal was a rental with his deal expiring at the end of the season.

Value

Pageau had 87 goals and 182 points in 435 games (0.42 PP/G) with the Ottawa Senators and won 52.2 percent of his draws and averaged around 16:14 of ice-time before the trade to the Islanders. Hanzal was a better player, with 0.51 PP/G prior to the trade, but Pageau wasn’t far behind before the trade.

The Islanders didn’t acquire Pageau simply for his production, although that was certainly a factor. His ability to win draws was another reason, as was his ability to kill a penalty.

Pageau has logged well over 900 minutes of PK time in four of the last five years. He only picked up 557:42 PK minutes in 2018-19 when injury limited him to 39 games. Hanzal totaled 1,106:31 PK minutes over his entire career.

Minnesota didn’t get the value they wanted out of Hanzal in that deal. The big 6’6″ center put up one goal in five games with an average 18:45 in ice-time as the Wild crashed out in the first round of the 2017 playoffs.

Pageau hit the back of the net eight times and had eleven points in the Isles 22 game playoff run to the Eastern Conference Finals averaging 17:11 of ice-time.

Just by that alone, the Islanders got good value from the Pageau deal, but as we know JGP isn’t going anywhere. Lou Lamoriello locked him in with a six-year $30 million deal immediately after making the trade.

Pageau may not hit the 51 point pace he was setting in 2019-20 thanks to top-line minutes with the Ottawa Senators, but he could certainly return 40 points from a third-line center role. He did it his second year in the league with 19 goals and 43 points back in 15-16.

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He’ll continue to be a big presence on the faceoff dot as well as man the Islanders penalty kill that was effective 81.8 percent of the time in these playoffs.

The price may have seemed high but it was worth every penny for the New York Islanders. The Islanders aren’t going to miss that 28th overall pick in 2020.

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