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Editorials

Islanders: Three takeaways heading into early break

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 19: Anthony Beauvillier #18 of the New York Islanders celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Chicago Blackhawks in the second period at United Center on October 19, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 19: Anthony Beauvillier #18 of the New York Islanders celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Chicago Blackhawks in the second period at United Center on October 19, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
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UNIONDALE, NEW YORK – JUNE 23: Jean-Gabriel Pageau #44 of the New York Islanders skates against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Six of the NHL Stanley Cup Semifinals during the 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Finals at the Nassau Coliseum on June 23, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders defeated the Lightning 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK – JUNE 23: Jean-Gabriel Pageau #44 of the New York Islanders skates against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Six of the NHL Stanley Cup Semifinals during the 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Finals at the Nassau Coliseum on June 23, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders defeated the Lightning 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Jean-Gabriel Pageau

Remember when the narrative around the Jean-Gabriel Pageau trade to the Islanders was that he won’t be worth the price Lou Lamoriello paid for him? (That narrative didn’t come from Islanders fans of course) What a time that was, right?

Because since then, Jean-Gabriel Pageau has been giving the Islanders nothing but value. Even through the six games to start the 2021-22 season.

Pageau doesn’t lead the team in scoring and certainly never will. His two points in five games put him on pace for 33 points in 82 games. So again, he’s not going to lead the Islanders in scoring. But that’s not why they brought him in.

His production was a factor in why they brought him in, but what the Isles were hoping to get from Pageau was a defensively sound center that could (yes add some production) but play in all situations and be a controlling factor for the Isles.

Keep in mind how the Islanders play. They employ a “bend-don’t-break” system where they invite offensive pressure but limit any high-quality opportunities while carving out their own high-quality opportunities. And Pageau was, hopefully, going to be a key player in this.

That’s exactly what Isles fans have seen since he was acquired and what fans have seen this year as well.

Pageau starts 68% of his shifts in the defensive zone (at 5on5) and is still above 50% in terms of Corsi, holds a 52.94 HDCF% and 59.97 xG%. His micro stats game score (shots, passes, zone entries, and exits) put him second on the team.

Think about that for a second. Pageau spends most of his time in the defensive zone but is still a huge driver for offense for the Islanders when he’s on the ice. That’s why the Islanders acquired him. He’s the perfect cog for this system and we’re seeing that again this year.

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