Option 3: Hudson Fasching-J.G. Pageau-Julien Gauthier
Pageau has struggled to find offensive consistency all season. He is on pace for 10 goals and 26 assists, which would both be career lows should he play a full season. Much of this is due to more defensive than offensive zone time with his entrees across the blue line with Holmstrom being lackluster in 5-on-5 action. The lack of zone time has given Pageau just 52 shots on goal, which is also on pace for the lowest in his career.
Fasching has seen his role change every week this season. One week he is a lineup regular, then the next week he is on the bench. In one game he is on the second line, then the next he is on the ‘Identity Line’. This lack of consistency has prevented the 28-year-old from finding the rhythm that the team saw last season when he broke out with 10 goals and 9 assists through 49 games.
Gauthier started the season in Ross Johnston’s bench role. He only played 3 games between October and November until finding consistent ice time on the Isles’ third line. In a short sample, Gauthier is similar to Fasching where he can drive towards the net with great speed and a solid forecheck Adding Fasching and Gauthier’s speed to a line with Pageau would give the veteran center a better opportunity to get in front of the net. They have all spent far too much time in the defensive zone when paired with players of lesser speed, which has provided more opportunity to the opponents.