NY Islanders JG Pageau wants to be more explosive next season
When Jean-Gabriel Pageau's game is discussed amongst fans and analysts, a long list of things he does well for the New York Islanders are spoken about before his scoring. On a nightly basis, the 30-year-old third-line center contributes in ways that don't end up on the scoresheet. That doesn't mean Pageau doesn't expect more from himself offensively.
Pageau scored 13 goals and 27 assists last season in 70 games. A 40-point campaign considering how much the Islanders lean on his line defensively, is solid production, but Pageau knows there is more that he can do to help the Islanders (22nd in goals scored a game) be better offensively.
"I want to be stronger, I want to be more explosive. I want to have a better shot," said Pageau at Monday's break-out day. Pageau scored a career-high 26 goals in 2019-20, the year he was acquired from the Ottawa Senators at the trade deadline and immediately signed to a six-year contract extension. Those 26 goals came in just 67 regular season games that season.
His goals per 60 minutes (G/60) that season was a career-best 1.2. That number was 0.9 in his first full year with the Islanders in 2021 and then 0.8 the following season. Last year, that number dipped to 0.6, his lowest since 2017-18, but the 27 assists Pageau registered were the most he's had in his career. Considering that for much of the year, Pageau was playing on a line with Simon Holmstrom, who was defensively sound but wasn't a generator offensively, it's an impressive number.
"I think as a player I am someone who always tries to get better in some areas in my game. I'm very competitive in everything I do. Personally, when I go back in the summer, I try to get stronger, see where I can be better."
Next season, you'd ideally want Pageau to return to around the 20-goal number while continuing to provide all those things that go unnoticed if you didn't want the game and only check the box score. He has been the Islanders' Swiss army knife since joining the team, giving them a little bit of everything all the time. A little bit more scoring added to that little bit of everything is what he wants and expects from himself next season.