In last night’s pre-game show before the Islanders and New Jersey Devils squared off, Shannon Hogan was talking to Butch Goring about the acquisition of J.G. Pageau.
Hogan mentioned that both she and Goring spoke to head coach Barry Trotz earlier in the day about the Pageau, and he certainly had some high praise about the Islanders third-line center.
"We talked to Barry Trotz this morning and he said trading for Pageau was like when the Islanders traded for you."
That sounds about right to me#isles
— James Nichols (@JamesNicholsNYI) January 21, 2021
It’s abundantly true that Pageau was the current version of the Islanders “missing piece to the puzzle.” Before you disagree, just remember that the third line was a black hole before Pageau, a constant revolving door of players that seemingly never stuck. It’s also true they still had a need for a pure goal scorer. However, acquiring Pageau was a necessary move.
The Islanders didn’t quite go on to win a Stanley Cup like they did in 1980 upon Goring’s arrival, but they did make an impressive run to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they were defeated in six games by Tampa Bay.
Without Pageau, the Islanders might not even make it out of the first round of the bubble playoffs.
The similarities between Goring and Pageau run deep. They each stabilized a deficit in an Islanders lineup that was necessary to sustain a winning pedigree. Goring didn’t quite reach the 30-goal mark he had in his career with the Los Angeles Kings but he brought a consistent 20-goal pedigree to the Isles. Pageau has averaged 25 goals over the past two seasons and is looking to keep that average for a third consecutive campaign.
In Goring’s tenure with the Islanders, his shooting percentage equaled about 18.8%. Over Pageau’s 33 games played (including playoffs) with the Islanders, he has recorded a 17% shooting percentage.
— NHL (@NHL) January 19, 2021
“Torrey figured that Goring, whose speed and work ethic were above and beyond the call of duty, could take some of the pressure off Trottier and give New York’s opponents two lines to worry about,” said a Staff Writer with NHL.com.
Work ethic is just what Pageau brings to the Islanders. He’s the ultimate swiss army knife working on the power play, killing penalties, scoring five-on-five and relentlessly harassing opponents to retrieve the puck and push it to the offensive end of the ice.
“As Torrey had hoped, [Goring] gave the Islanders another weapon for their arsenal – one who could skate like the wind, win faceoffs, kill penalties, dig in the corners, assist his wingers, and score.”
It’s true that the Islanders currently need a top-6 scoring threat, unlike the dynasty teams who had Hall of Famer Mike Bossy.
But it’s hard to deny the similarities between Goring and Pageau.
The Islanders window to win is now, and Pageau brings the same kind of game that Goring brought to the Islanders winning ways in the ’80s.
Make no mistake that Pageau is one of the most important players to put on an Islander sweater for the Isles today, much like Goring was back in the day.