The New York Islanders acquired center Jean-Gabriel Pageau from the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday, just hours before the NHL trade deadline at 3 p.m. ET on Monday, the team announced Monday morning.
The Islanders gave up a first and second-round pick in the 2020 NHL draft and a conditional third-rounder in 2022 if New York wins the Stanley Cup.
It was a steep price despite not giving up any top prospects for the 27-year-old, who was set to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season. But the Islanders announced shortly after that they worked out a six-year extension ($5 million AAV) with Pageau, ensuring he will stay with the club for the long-term.
Pageau is having a career season with 24 goals and 16 assists in 60 games for the Senators. His previous career-high was 19 goals in 2015-16. He becomes the Islanders’ leading goal scorer and third in points.
The transaction is a rare move from an Islanders organization that has made inactivity at the trade deadline commonplace for the better part of the past 13 years — the last notable move coming when they picked up Ryan Smyth from the Edmonton Oilers in 2007.
But desperate times call for desperate measures for an Islanders team that is suddenly on the fringe of the postseason conversation, forcing general manager Lou Lamoriello’s hand to make such a move.
New York’s offense has been inconsistent for the better part of Lamoriello and head coach Barry Trotz’s tenure with the organization, which began last season.
A team that defied the odds last season by accruing 103 points with a defensive system, the season-ending loss of blueliner Adam Pelech further stressed the need for the Islanders to address their scoring woes, especially in their bottom six with Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck dealing with injuries.
As one of the lowest-scoring teams in the Eastern Conference, the Islanders recently came off a four-game west-coast road trip in which they scored just two goals in 240 minutes and dropped out of the playoff picture. Two wins at Nassau Coliseum against the lowly Detroit Red Wings and San Jose Sharks got them back in a wild-card spot since then, but their glaring necessities became too much to cover up.
Pageau’s acquisition strengthens the Islanders’ ranks down the middle as he becomes a clear favorite to slot in as the third-line center behind Mathew Barzal and Brock Nelson.
He is expected to make his Islanders debut on Tuesday night against the Rangers at Nassau Coliseum.