New York Islanders
Islanders Jean-Gabriel Pageau Making do with Linemate Carousel
The number of forwards that have played at one point or another on the wing of Jean-Gabriel Pageau this season could make up a line of their own and then some.
Since the season started in January, Jean-Gabriel Pageau has played with everyone from Leo Komarov, Michael Dal Colle and Keiffer Bellows to at times being bumped up during a game to play with some of the team’s top-six forwards to try and jumpstart the lineup. Ross Johnston and Oliver Wahlstrom have also had some time with Pageau.
Throughout the young season so far Islanders head coach Barry Trotz has said that his decision to put Pageau with so many different players was a testament to the trust that he has in him. That Pageau’s game can complement the style of whoever is around him.
There has been some concern that the constant rotation of players has had an impact on Pageau. The Islanders centerman has four points (one goal, three assists) in 10 games this season.
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However, Pageau doesn’t believe anything in his game has changed despite the carousel of linemates.
“It doesn’t change anything in my mindset,” Pageau said about playing with so many different wingers. “It’s the same every game. Every day I come to the rink I try to bring my 110 percent whoever is playing with me. I know they’re going to do the job too and they’re going to be ready. It doesn’t really matter who is playing left and right. When you’re on the ice in different situations, when you come back in your zone it’s not always about the center going back in the zone first.
“It’s about who is back first and it doesn’t really matter who is playing though.”
Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s latest linemates have become Wahlstrom and Komarov. The trio is likely to be together on the ice when the Islanders face the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Trotz had said Monday morning that the lineup would look similar if not the same to the one they had on Saturday when they defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins. The three played 9:22 of ice as a line 5v5 in the 4-3 win, which snapped a five-game skid.
Pageau appeared to enjoy his time with the mix of a veteran and young gun as his linemates.
“Leo is an experienced player, he plays the game hard,” Pageau said ahead of Monday’s game with the Rangers. “There’s a lot of details in his game and it’s fun to see with Wahlly taking some experience. Really working hard on his defensive game. He’s really impressed me with the games that I’ve played with him how good he was. His skill set is really high. … It’s definitely fun to play with these two.”