The Islanders made a big splash before the NHL trade deadline, striking a deal with the Senators for C Jean-Gabriel Pageau in exchange for a 2020 first- and second-round pick as well as a 2022 third-round pick. It was a move that not only proved GM Lou Lamoriello is truly all-in with his current roster, but proved he really believes in Pageau to deliver.
At first, the trade seemed like a big risk as Pageau was set to be a free agent after the season. But the Islanders were quick to sign the 27-year-old, who is currently on pace to break his career high in points this season, to a six-year extension worth $30 million.
So you can understand why Pageau was all smiles when speaking to the New York media for the first time after his first practice.
"I couldn't be more excited," Pageau told reporters. "For me to come to a winning team, a team that's pushing, they'll be competing every year for a playoff spot. It just makes me so happy.
"I felt so welcomed since the second I got traded. I got so many texts from different guys, calls from the coach, GM. It's so exciting."
Head coach Barry Trotz will throw Pageau right into the fire against one of the Islanders' most-heated rivals in the Rangers on Tuesday night. Pageau recognizes the intensity of these games, and said he'll make sure to get a nice nap before this one.
But, after practicing with his new teammates along with knowing what they were all about from the outside, he can't wait to hit the ice with them in a game to begin his initiation into his new hockey ice.
"First of all, I heard a lot of good things," Pageau began. "I knew a couple of guys already on the team and I really like their mentality. The way they're approaching the game, the way they want to win, the way that the players here -- I see how tight their group is in the room and I can really see it's one big family. I really want to join that family and be part of it and it's something that I want to do long term."
"I want to prove to the fans, the organization, my teammates that they made the right decision signing me long-term. So I'm just excited to get it going tonight."
Pageau has 24 goals and 16 assists for a total 40 points on the season thus far.