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Does Losing Pageau, Adding Kadri Make Islanders Stronger?



New York Islanders Jean-Gabriel Pageau
UNIONDALE, NY - MARCH 03: New York Islanders Center Jean-Gabriel Pageau (44) during the third period of the National Hockey League game between the Montreal Canadiens and the New York Islanders on March 3, 2020, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. (Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire)

If the New York Islanders bring Nazem Kadri aboard, someone must move off the island.

We have spoken about Josh Bailey and his trade rumors. Anthony Beauvillier’s name has come up as well. And just the other day, Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s name has come out of the woodworks as another New York Islander who could be on the move.

Moving Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who is entering his age 30 season, “kills two birds” with one stone for the New York Islanders as they would clear his $20 million off the books he owes over the next four seasons and open up a center spot for Kadri.

Pageau does have a 16-team no movement clause.

Although it is unlikely that Mathew Barzal, Brock Nelson, or Nazem Kadri would play the third-line center position, this move would not force anyone to have to be moved to the wing, in theory.

Although moving Pageau clears $5 million off the book allows for the ability to sign a Nazem Kadri, it would take more than one player to fill the many shoes or skates Pageau laces up for the New York Islanders.

One could look at Jean-Gabriel Pageau as the third-line center on a team that struggles to provide consistent offense. One could also look at Pageau and see a versatile centerman who can score, create, win face-offs, and kill penalties.

Pageau was not acquired by the New York Islanders at the 2019 NHL Trade deadline and given a six-year extension because he scored 24 goals on a run-and-gun offense in Ottawa. It was because of his defensive mindset and the tools he has in his toolbox.

This past season, the rigorous 2021-22 campaign, Pageau got off to a slow start with just five goals and seven assists in his first 37 games while shooting at just 7.7%. Despite “being healthy” after offseason hand surgery, it was apparent he was still working through some things when the season began.

Over his final 40 games of the season, Pageau played to expectations, with 13 goals and 14 assists to finish his season with 18 goals and 21 assists. He shot at a 21.3 clip post the All-Star break and ended the year at 14.3%.

In 2021-22, Jean-Gabriel Pageau played the most minutes of any New York Islanders player, with 1,360:56 minutes in 77 games. Of those minutes, 1,054:05 came at even strength, 159:15 came on the power play, and 147:36 came on the penalty kill (led Islanders).

Despite posting his lowest face-off winning percentage in three seasons, he finished second on the New York Islanders with a 55.3 FO%. Pageau won 59.21% on the power play, and when shorthanded, 52.29%

Since his arrival to the New York Islanders, Pageau has not had steady linemates. It’s been as sporadic, if not more sporadic than what Mathew Barzal has dealt with, but it has not been talked about nearly as much.

The trading of Pageau and the bringing on of Kadri is a move that surely helps the New York Islanders offensively, with no debate there, but it’s the other things Pageau doe that makes that move somewhat questionable.

The Islanders’ offense ranked 23rd, with just 2.79 goals per game in 2021-22, and an uptick in offensive production is the most significant need.

Kadri, 31, scored 28 goals with 59 assists (87 points) in 71 games on the Stanley Cup-winning Colorado Avalanche, having averaged 19:14 minutes per game during the regular season. He knows what it takes to win, with seven goals and eight assists in 16 playoff games.

He is the definition of a warrior, undergoing thumb surgery after sustaining an injury in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals but returning for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Kadri’s ability to be a pest while also having the ability to finish makes him an attractive player. But not everything is about scoring, especially when one is playing for the New York Islanders.

Kadri had 19 blocks and 52 assists during the regular season, while Pageau had 53 blocks and 171 hits.

Despite playing on the power play, Kadri very rarely played on either Colorado Avalanche penalty-kill units, just 33:41 minutes. The 31-year-old won 49.7% of his face-off draws, winning 50.22% at even strength, 48.84% while on the power play, and won 44.64% while on the penalty kill.

As mentioned, Pageau is strong in the face-off dot and plays a vital role on both special teams, the bigger of the two on the penalty kill.

Could the New York Islanders give Pageau’s role to someone else?

Casey Cizikas is already a staple on the penalty kill, and Zach Parise, under contract for another season, is a proven penalty killer along with Cal Clutterbuck. Brock Nelson, Anthony Beauvillier, and Kyle Palmieri could also take shifts if need be.

I’ve said it before, and I will continue to say it. The Islanders strength is their defense; defense does not just come from defenders. Jean-Gabriel Pageau is a perfect example of that, and his loss would be more crucial than people realize, even if it meant bringing in an offensive force like Nazem Kadri.

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I would hate to lose this warrior. Like the article said,Pageau does many things well especially faceoffs were we are seriously in need of some Guys to win faceoffs. I wouldn’t let Pageau go. My opinion.


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