Geek of the Week: Jean-Gabriel Pag-How?

Ben Burnett

2019-11-17


Over the first month or two of each new NHL campaign, there are always a few performances that stand out as particularly perplexing or shocking. This year, perhaps no storyline has been less predictable than the absolute firestorm that is Jean-Gabriel Pageau in Ottawa.

Through 19 games, Pageau has 11 goals. That’s good for a 50-goal pace, and only seven goals off from JGP’s career high of 19 over 82 games in 2015-2016. If ever Pageau was going to be a 20-goal scorer, you’d have to imagine this would be the year.

As most fantasy owners likely realize, this torrid pace is impossible for the Ottawa veteran to maintain. Before Saturday night’s game, Pageau had accumulated his 11 goals on 42 shots, putting him at a 26 percent shooting rate. Of all players with 40 shots or more, he trails only Brayden Schenn for the league’s highest shooting percentage. It’s easy to identify Pageau as a regression candidate over the rest of the season.

In previous years, JGP has mostly lived on the waiver wire. But this season, he’s been single-handedly winning weeks for his owners. How high can Pageau’s stock get this year? Or is he due to regress back to waiver wire-levels?

2019-20 in review

Even beyond the unexpected box-score totals, there are positives in Pageau’s numbers. His 191-shot pace heading into Saturday night’s game would be a career high for the 27-year-old. He’s also maintaining a 132-hit pace, consistent with earlier seasons before the injury which knocked him out for a majority of last year. So if you’re in a multi-category league, Pageau’s productivity is doubly exciting.

Additionally, the Sens are playing their leading goal scorer a career-high 17:53 minutes per game. At 5 on 5, Pageau is the Sens’ fifth most used forward, indicating he’s playing in a top six role. If there are two things that lead to fantasy success, it’s high skill and good opportunity.

I have questions about how positive Pageau’s opportunities really are. While he’s playing nearly 18 minutes a game, three of those minutes are on the penalty kill. Pageau has two shorthanded points already, but I’m not counting on those rates to continue. In the three years previous to this one, he’s played similar shorthanded minutes, and only amassed five shorthanded points in thr