The New York Islanders have re-signed Trade Deadline acquisition Jean-Gabriel Pageau, also known as JG Pageau, to a six-year contract extension worth $30 million. This extension came after the Islanders traded first (top-three protected), second and a third-round (only if they win the Stanley Cup) draft picks. Pageau, who was previously on the Senators, was excelling on the bottom-feeding team. This pickup for the Islanders will serve wonders for them, as they finally have a solid third-line center who can play up the line-up when needed.
A third-line center is something the Islanders have lacked over the past few seasons. This lack became notable when a rotation of players started to cycle through. Whether it was acquisitions of Derrick Brassard or Valteri Filppula, the Islanders were longing for a player like Pageau. This bolstering trade equips with Isles with another weapon, as almost every team in their division have also bulked up for the playoffs. Whether it is Carolina reshaping their defence amidst injuries, the Capitals yearning for another Stanley Cup before Ovechkin eventually retires, or the Penguins looking for revenge on last year’s playoff failure, the Islanders made the smart move of buying rather than staying put.
Pageau’s contract does come at a hefty cost, as many teams may not be able to afford the $5 million price tag of a third liner. What is being overlooked is the fact that Pageau was the first-line center on the Ottawa Senators. While accomplishing that feat on a rather unimpressive team is not too notable, he did excel at his position, setting a career-high in goals.
Pageau is on pace to crack thirty goals this season, and if he were to do that, $5 million dollars for a thirty goal scorer seems like a bargain in today’s NHL. Questions of whether Pageau can sustain this rate over the next few years can be a cause for concern; however, considering Pageau is in the middle of his prime, one could assume that there are still more quality seasons left in the tank.
Islanders fans may come to question this signing with upcoming restricted free agent Mat Barzal’s contract conundrum on the horizon. Luckily, this is the only big-ticket contract on Lou Lamoriello’s bucket list for the summer. Ryan Pulock and Devon Toews will command more affordable deals. Barzal’s contract will require a good amount of cap space, but Lou usually plans things two steps ahead, so one would assume he has a plan so that Pageau won’t infringe on the pending RFA’s contract.
It is good to see the New York Islanders spending money on quality players. The Islanders have been lacking in the offensive department, and Pageau’s goal-scoring ability will only benefit the Isles as they prepare for the final stretch of the season, and hopefully, the playoffs.