Pageau shines in London tourney
September, 11, 2013
By Corey Pronman | ESPN.com
AP Photo/Sean KilpatrickSenators prospect Jean-Gabriel Pageau already has one NHL hat trick on his resume.LONDON, Ontario -- On Monday, I posted some notes from the four teams at the London prospect tournament regarding the performance of notable young players. But it wasn't possible to get everything out of my notebook in just one post, so let's circle back for some extended thoughts on some others.
Pageau's impressive tournamentJean-Gabriel Pageau -- the 96th overall pick in 2011 -- has been trending up on a season-by-season basis. He had the best even-strength shot differential per 60 minutes for Ottawa during the 2013 regular season, and was the team's third best during the playoffs. He continued his excellent play at the London tournament.
One executive said he was "on another level." "Dominant," said another NHL source. Another identified him as the clear best player at this tournament and one source described him as God's gift to Ottawa.
Well, the last one may have been made up by yours truly, but you get the idea.
Pageau is a high-end skater who gets praise for his intangibles and work ethic; however, it's his hockey sense that makes him potentially really valuable as an NHL player. All of his good decisions, the plays he makes in tight spaces, and the confidence he has to be creative all point to a quality two-way player. He shows the ability to make a pass you didn't think he would have time to make, and make a perfect backward pass on the penalty kill to knock off 20 seconds. Ninety percent of players wouldn't think of doing that, let alone a player who won't turn 21 years old until Nov. 11.
Pageau isn't a total lock to make the Senators out of camp, but it seems very likely he will, and may push those ahead of him on the NHL depth chart this season.