Islanders’ Jean-Gabriel Pageau in limbo, personally and professionally

Islanders’ Jean-Gabriel Pageau in limbo, personally and professionally

Jean-Gabriel Pageau was in the middle of changing his life over.


A native of Ottawa, Ontario, Pageau spent his entire eight-year NHL career with the Senators before he was traded to the Islanders at the trade deadline in February. Less than a month later, the NHL season was suspended indefinitely amid the coronavirus pandemic.


The 27-year-old center competed in just seven games for his new team and was in the process of finding a new house, changing over his bank accounts, phone numbers and all other things that need to be done when you move to a new country.


“A lot of guys go through it, but for me it was my first time,” Pageau told The Post in a recent phone call.


Pageau was set to become a free agent at the end of the 2019-20 season and with the Senators long out of the playoff picture, he was shipped to the Islanders in exchange for a conditional first-round pick in 2020, a second-round pick in 2020 and a conditional third-rounder in 2022.


But he wasn’t a rental. The Islanders immediately locked him up in a six-year, $30 million deal. For Pageau, not getting to prove himself worthy of that contract is the hardest part of all this.


“You want to learn as quick as you can all the systems, get to know all the guys, get to know their tendencies on the ice, your linemates [and] what they do, where do they usually go and it usually takes a little time to adapt,” he said. “For [the season to get suspended] after I was starting to feel comfortable, we’re in a playoff push, I think it’s just unusual. I don’t think it’ll ever happen again.

“It’s a little bit frustrating because the welcome I got in New York from the organization, from the team, from the players, from the fans, was so good and so great that I want to give back as much as I can. And show why they made a good decision to have that confidence in me right away and to go get me.”


The Islanders were in Calgary for a game that was ultimately canceled when they found out the season was suspended on March 12. Since he and his wife were still searching for a home, Pageau was residing at a hotel when he returned to New York from the road trip.


Pageau said he would take walks around the city in order to pass the time, but said coming back to his hotel amid the pandemic was risky because of the flight attendants constantly coming in and out. Pageau eventually decided after about a week to return to his home in Ottawa, where his wife and their two teacup Chihuahuas were.


At least the stay-at-home order has given Pageau and his wife ample time to search for their new home, which he said they’ve been able to do from afar. They have a place in mind, but are waiting to actually see it before pulling the trigger.


“It’s a lot of work but the team and all the players helped me so much to make it easier,” he said. “We were getting there and now all of that happened. It’s kind of weird timing.”