As we inch closer and closer to the NHL trade deadline on March 3rd, things only seem to be getting worse for the NY Islanders. Since they’ve traded for Bo Horvat that saw two lineup pieces head to the Vancouver Canucks in Anthony Beauvillier and Aatu Räty, they’ve become more injury ridden than they were while missing Oliver Wahlstrom and Cal Clutterbuck as now they’re missing J.G. Pageau, Josh Bailey, and the latest, Mathew Barzal. Well, one of those injured players is believed to be nearing a return and as a result, teams have expressed interest in acquiring him. That player is Pageau.
David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period reports that teams “expressed various levels of interest in centre Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who is out of action with an upper-body injury for roughly another week.”
He added: “One of the teams believed to have poked around on him this season is the Carolina Hurricanes.”
Pageau has three more years left on his current contract at a $4.5 million cap hit. He also half controls his own fate as he owns a 16-team no-trade clause. While not much leaks from general manager Lou Lamoriello’s end, it’s certainly well documented that a team like the Hurricanes wants to add, ideally at the center position.
An in-division trade would be a tough pill to swallow, however, if the Hurricanes are serious it’s likely they’d have to pay a premium. Carolina does own their first-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, an asset the Islanders gave up earlier this year. The Hurricanes' top prospects are both defensemen, a position the Islanders are actually pretty secure in, so looking a little further down the pipeline, maybe prospect forwards such as Jack Drury or Jackson Blake would be enticing for an Islander prospect pool that severely lacks forwards.
The trade deadline is 10 days away and perhaps well have an idea of what direction the Islanders and Lamoriello are headed in sooner rather than later, but if they're going to miss the playoffs, their best bet is to likely recoup as many assets as they can for their expiring contracts and retool in the summer. As for Pageau, whoever is calling will have to make it worth their while.