The JG Pageau Trade One Year Later


Last year, Pageau was part of a blockbuster trade between the New York Islanders and the Ottawa Senators. (courtesy of Twitter)

Feb. 24 marked the one-year anniversary of last season’s NHL trade deadline. It was an active deadline locally if you remember. Winger Chris Kreider signed his contract extension, the Devils sold off many of their players, and the Islanders welcomed Jean-Gabriel Pageau. The past year has obviously been a crazy time for everyone, but Pageau’s Islander career has been remarkable thus far. 

For many years, the Islanders refused to make a blockbuster trade at the deadline to fill the glaring need on their forward core. Last year, that finally changed when President Lou Lamoriello shipped a first and second round pick to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for the 27-year-old center. 

Pageau had truly seen it all in Ottawa, from their Eastern Conference Final appearance in 2017 to their abysmal seasons in 2019 and 2020. His trade to the Islanders was an immediate personal success, as he scored a goal and ruffled some feathers in his first game against the Rangers the next day. However, the team lost every game they played between the deadline and the shutdown two weeks later. Lockdown rolled into July, when the playoffs started and Pageau locked down the third line center position every game. 

He scored some big goals in the playoffs, including a goal that sent game two against Philadelphia into overtime. Throughout 22 games in the bubble, Pageau scored eight goals and added three assists. His presence helped propel the Islanders to game six of the Eastern Conference Finals, and he earned the six-year contract extension he signed before even putting on the jersey. 

Now, the Islanders have finally won many regular season games with Pageau on the team and he has been the shot in the arm the offense needed. His nine goals are tied for the team lead, and the second powerplay unit has been successful of late, due in large part to his presence in the middle. He has been by far the best faceoff man on the team at 57.47%. 

Giving up a first-round pick is never an easy pill to swallow, but it was the perfect trade for the two teams based on where they are right now. Pageau has been phenomenal for New York, and the first rounder will help Ottawa on the rebuild that they are in the middle of. Center Ridly Greig was the 28th overall pick in the draft to Ottawa. He registered 60 points in 56 games in the WHL last year and in four games in the AHL he had two assists. Greig might very well be a key part of the Ottawa rebuild, but Pageau provides a much bigger impact to the Islanders than Greig or anyone else at 28 could have. 

The Pageau trade has been an A+ trade for the Islanders. This is proof that these trades can and do work. Mark Stone is now the captain of the Golden Knights and Taylor Hall won a Hart Trophy in New Jersey. The Islanders might not make another trade like this for a while, but this is proof that sometimes giving up that first rounder and more is worth a deep playoff run and many years of elite play.