The next NY Islanders forward due for a hot streak

J.G. Pageau has yet to catch fire in 2023-24.

New York Islanders v Florida Panthers
New York Islanders v Florida Panthers / Joel Auerbach/GettyImages

The NY Islanders have reaped the benefits of recent hot streaks from some of its top forwards. Brock Nelson has scored four goals since moving to the top line during the third period against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Noah Dobson and Mathew Barzal have recorded five points over this stretch, with honorable mentions for great performances going to Casey Cizikas and Kyle MacLean. This is all without mentioning Kyle Palmieri's 4-point night that included a natural hat trick in the first period against the Boston Bruins.

While the Islanders have surged back into the playoff picture thanks to the production of these players, the team has fallen apart before due to their habitual streakiness. For example, Palmieri scored three goals in four games between December 7th and 15th. He then proceeded to record just 3 assists with no goals for the next 12 games. Anders Lee had just one goal through the first 15 games this season, then scored three times in the next four. Even Nelson scored only twice across 11 games between January 11th and February 8th. Suffice it to say, the Isles live and die with their hot streaks. For this team to make the playoffs, another player must step up in the wake of their inevitable cold streaks.

J.G. Pageau must find his offensive star-power.

Zach Parise, Jean-Gabriel Pageau
New Jersey Devils v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The one integral player that has not found a hot streak is JG Pageau. This season has easily been the least productive of the 31-year-old's career, scoring just 8 goals and 17 assists through 60 games. His goal last night was crucial to the Islanders' comeback, as his rebound goal knotted the game at two.

Pageau is also an essential part of a penalty kill unit that has ranked last in the NHL for much of this season. Some of Pageau's offensive decline is out of his control, such as never having consistent linemates on the Isles' third line. Every time the centerman has gained chemistry with a winger such as Zach Parise or Palmieri, they either leave the organization or move to a different line.

In Patrick Roy's new system, Pageau finds himself elevated to the Isles' second line with Lee and Palmieri. This move was implemented to garner more offensive production from each player. Each winger has had their star-studded moments this season, from Lee's multi-goal third period against the Los Angeles Kings to Palmieri's hat trick on Saturday. Now having two offensive-minded forwards to play with, it's time for Pageau to catch fire.

Pageau has also historically played well with Palmieri under the tutelage of Barry Trotz. The centerman scored 18 goals playing next to Palmieri and Parise in 2021-22. Pageau also had ten assists in the 2021 postseason, which followed the trade deadline acquisition of Palmieri from the New Jersey Devils. Given the streaky nature of this roster, the Isles will need a different forward to have their star moment every game. If history plays any significance for this Islanders group, Pageau must find his rhythm playing next to Palmieri for the final 21 games.