In a deal that the hockey world saw coming, the Ottawa Senators traded fan-favourite Jean-Gabriel Pageau to the New York Islanders for a 2020 lottery-protected, first-round pick, a 2020 second-round pick and a conditional third-round pick in 2021. What does this mean for both teams?
Looking Towards the Future
The Islanders’ draft picks coming to Ottawa are intriguing. As of Feb. 24, New York sits in the first wild card spot, so the playoffs are not guaranteed but likely. The first pick is lottery-protected, so the best possible position is fourth. However, a first-rounder is extremely valuable in such a deep draft; the Senators have their eyes on the future with this deal.
Assuming the Islanders finish in their current position, the Senators will have the 23rd pick. There are several great prospects who could be taken in the late first round, including Lukas Cormier, Jeremie Poirier and Mavrik Bourque.
The second-round pick is also an important acquisition. A player like Jean-Luc Foudy could be available at that range. General manager Pierre Dorion has taken a lot of flak over his moves during his tenure. This trade is a stellar move for the rebuilding Senators. Even if the Islanders make the playoffs, adding another mid to late first-round pick will only add to the fantastic system of prospects the Senators possess. The conditional third-rounder in 2021 might be an afterthought.
This trade should help the Senators redefine their franchise, who now have a multitude of great picks in June. With three first-round picks, it is important that the scouting staff capitalize on this chance. Overall, the package received is fantastic, and credit is due to team management.
What the Senators Lose
Despite the excellent value received in the trade, the Senators will miss Pageau. He is in the midst of a career year, with 21 goals and 40 points in 60 games, and he has taken a significant step forward. His main role with the Islanders will likely be as a third-line centre.
He has been excellent in his top-six role with the Senators, but he is not going to fill that role on a better team. Ottawa has lost a veteran presence and mentor from their roster, but as the Sens marketing team loves to say, “The kids are alright.”
What the Islanders Gain
The Islanders paid a high price but in return, they’ve received an excellent piece for their third line; Pageau is a hard-working player who will be able to play his game behind some decent depth in Long Island.
Pageau’s point totals may not be the same with the Isles, but his Selke-level defence and face-off ability will be a perfect fit for Barry Trotz’s system. That’s what Islanders management must believe since they’ve already signed him to a six-year, $30 million extension.
It’s too early to judge how much the Islanders gave up with these draft picks.
Pageau’s Legacy in Ottawa
Pageau was a big part of the Senators, especially in the playoffs. Whether it was his hat trick against the Montreal Canadiens on May 5, 2013. Or his four-goal, overtime-winning performance against the New York Rangers on April 29, 2016.
This is likely the best year that Pageau will ever have in the NHL and the Senators were smart to sell high and maximize his value. He will be missed in a Senators jersey, but it was the right time to move him. Only after the draft will we know who won this deal. For now, the Sens are the front runners.
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