In somewhat of an eyebrow raising move, the Ottawa Senators recalled Jean-Gabriel Pageau from the Binghamton Senators this afternoon. It's unexpected in the sense that Milan Michalek's skating again with the team and many have speculated that he could make a return as soon as tomorrow night in Philadelphia.
Pageau's presence gives the roster 14 forwards, 15 if you count Michalek as being 'close'. To this point, I have yet to see the organization announce an injury or make a corresponding roster move. It's worth noting however that NHL rosters were allowed to expand as of April 3rd at 12 am, so there simply may not be a correlated roster move. There is the likelihood that there is an undisclosed injury or that Pageau could fill in for someone as a game time replacement. Mika Zibanejad was shaken up last night in the third after receiving a blow to the back of his head, but he did have a number of shifts after the incident and was on the ice to conclude the game. Or better yet, maybe Pageau's promotion signifies the end of the Matt Kassian experiment.
Whatever the case, the backstory on Pageau is that he was Ottawa's fourth round selection (96th overall) from the 2011 NHL Draft. He'll be the second pick from the Senators '11 draft class to debut in the NHL – ahead of two of the team's first rounders, Matt Puempel and Stefan Noesen as well as second rounder Shane Prince. A surprising turn of events for a player who was considered somewhat of a surprise during Binghamton's training camp this past fall.
"You know what, everyone has been impressive. I’ve been really impressed with the whole group. We have Jean-Gabriel Pageau from our local neighbours in Gatineau. He played junior there and then got traded last year and finished his career in the Q last year. He has been great. He has stepped up his offseason conditioning with a lot the guys here around Ottawa and it has really helped. He has been very poised defensively; which is kind of a surprise to me because of his age and his size. At this level, he has played in all three exhibition games and he has contributed offensively, so with the injury to Stephane Da Costa, it has given him an opportunity to start the season with us and he made a real case to make it very difficult to make any movements on him (when Da Costa gets healthy)." ~ Luke Richardson speaking on Team 1200's The Drive on October 13th, 2012.
As I noted on Twitter, assuming he dresses and gets into a game, Pageau will become the 14th rookie to appear in a game with the Senators this season.
In his first full professional season, the 5'9", 165 lb prospect had 7 goals and 29 points in 69 games for the B-Sens – good enough to be tied for 5th in team scoring behind Stephane Da Costa, Shane Prince, Cole Schneider and Mark Stone. The promotion is a nice reward for Pageau and it will be nice to get a first-hand look at the player, but nobody should be expecting miracles here.