Last year, I couldn’t have been more thrilled when Lou Lamoriello traded for JG Pageau. He fits perfectly in this Islanders system, and I always admired his game from afar, as he plays a strong all-around type of center role.
He’s clutch in the playoffs, he had 11 points (8 goals, 3 assists) in 22 games last year, he’s excellent in the faceoff dot, he can play on the power play or penalty kill. He’s truly a jack of all trades and we saw that again this season.
During the regular season, it was a strong start for Pager. He finished the first three months of the year with 23 points in 35 games which is a 54 point pace over a full season. During the final 19 games, he slowed down a lot though.
Over that sample, he had just five points (3 goals, 2 assists). Still, he finished with 28 points (14 goals, 14 assists) in 54 games played. He had five power play goals to his name, two short-handed goals, and was 56.7% in the faceoff dot. You can’t ask for much more from your third-line center.
Well, as always, come playoff time he took his game to the next level. In the Pittsburgh series, he was dominant, putting up seven points (1 goal, 6 assists). That continued in the Boston series as well as he was a point per game player putting up 2 goals and 4 assists in the series.
Through the first 12 games of the playoffs, Pageau had 13 points and a legit case to be made for the Conn Smyth. Unfortunately, Pager dropped off in the Tampa series as he was playing through an injury.
We would later find out after the season that JGP needed hand surgery. Despite playing through a pretty bad hand injury, Pageau still won 57% of the faceoffs he took. Unreal.
John-Gabriel Pageau isn’t your ordinary third liner. He’s massively important to this team and there’s a very good reason why Lou Lamoriello decided to give him $30 million. I for one am thrilled that he will be on the Island for another five more years.
To me, this one is a fairly easy grade.
Final Grade: A