As the Ottawa Senators prepare for the first game of their first-round playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens, they know that their young players are ready to shine on the brightest stage. The Senators have gotten huge contributions from Jakob Silfverberg, Mika Zibanejad and trade deadline acquisition Cory Conacher this season, and now rookie Jean-Gabriel Pageau looks ready for his turn in the spotlight.
Pageau’s career may only be nine games old, but he has already had quite an impact for the Senators. He scored his first NHL goal in his second game, and had points in each of his first two contests. He added a goal and an assist in the Senator’s season finale, giving him two goals and four points in nine games. Both of his goals were game-winners, and he has already flashed more potential at the NHL level than he did in the AHL. The Senators selected him the fourth round of the 2011 draft, after two solid seasons with the Gatineau Olympiques of the QMJHL. He began this season in the AHL with the Binghamton Senators, and in 69 games there he had seven goals and 29 points. The fact that he’s still in Ottawa and not helping Binghamton in their playoff run shows that he has impressed the Senators in his time there, and he now has a chance to show he can make an impact in the postseason.
Fourth-line time alongside Conacher and Erik Condra seems to be a good fit for Pageau, and gives the Senators some depth heading in their meeting with a Canadiens team that boast an incredibly strong defense.