It's not often that a team acquires a player who has more goals than anyone else on their roster and could also be their best face-off man, but the numbers say that's exactly what Lou Lamoriello did when he acquired Jean-Gabriel Pageau from Ottawa in exchange for draft picks.
Pageau has 24 goals and 16 assists this season; his 24 goals (including four on the power play and three while shorthanded) are more than any of his new teammates, but Pageau should also be a big help in the face-off circle.
The Isles currently sit at 49.6% on the season (20th in the NHL); they have fallen several slots in the two weeks since Casey Cizikas was injured.
This season, J.G. (or is it JG?) has won 53.2% of his draws, and he has won at least 51.2% in each of the last five seasons. (Derick Brassard has won over 55% of his draws this season, but he has taken about 1/3 of the draws that Pageau, his former and now current teammate has taken)
Face-offs have been an official NHL stat since 1997-98. In that period of time, their best face-off man in a single season (minimum 300 draws) was Mike Sillinger (58.8% in 2006-07). While Pageau has not gotten that high, he has been as high as 54.8% in a season.
Claude Lapointe won over 50% in five straight seasons, but was under 51% twice; Dave Scatchard was real strong over 4 1/2 season with the Isles (never falling under 52%) while John Tavares was over 50% six times (and over 51% five times) in his final eight seasons with the club.
However, no Islander (since the stat has been kept) has been above 51% in five consecutive full seasons and it is that consistency that the Isles will get in the circle from Pageau. Considering that the Isles (other than Brock Nelson, who is having a career year in the circle) are under 32% in the last four games, this makes Pageau a welcome addition for a team that has won over 50% of their draws only seven times in the 21 seasons that the statistic has been officially kept.
One note I find interesting about Pageau is that he has scored his 24 goals despite starting only 40% of his shifts (that start off face-offs) in the offensive zone; by comparison Mathew Barzal has started over 60% of his shifts this season in the offensive zone.
Some of Pageau's other numbers also stick out: he has had only one regular season hat trick, but has had two in the playoffs (including a 4-goal game topped by an overtime goal against the Rangers); he has also had only one shootout attempt in his career, yet has scored on two penalty shots.
Pageau has a birthday that will fit nicely with the Isles' long-time home. Pageau will turn 28 this fall, on the 11th day of the 11th month. No better place to do that than The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, where he will hopefully make his debut on Tuesday against the Rangers. Pageau is 6-7-13 in 17 regular season games against the Rangers (2-3-5 in three games this season); six of his twelve career playoff goals have also come against the Blueshirts.
Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since January 21, 1982. Visit my blog: NYISkinny.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick
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