SPORTS

Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Senators forward, makes NHL his permanent home

03/19/2015 02:04 EDT | Updated 05/19/2015 05:59 EDT
Ottawa Senators' forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau made waves in Ottawa two years ago, but his play this season has finally earned him a full-time spot in the National Hockey League.

Pageau, 22, has received a letter from Senators management informing him he should find a permanent place to live in Ottawa.

That means the Gatineau, Que., native won't be heading back to the American Hockey League affiliate in Binghamton, N.Y., this season as he approaches restricted free agency in the summer.

"I think it takes a little bit of the pressure off my shoulders but still, I don't want to take anything for granted," Pageau said after practice on Thursday, as he prepared to play a must-win game against the Boston Bruins.

In the playoffs of 2013, Pageau took Ottawa by storm with four goals in 10 playoff games, including a hat-trick against the Montreal Canadiens.

He struggled last season with just two points in 28 games, while spending most of that season and the first half of this season in the AHL.

Pageau seeks new contract

However, 2015 has been a great year for Pageau, a fourth-round pick from 2011, as he found a home centring a line with rookie Curtis Lazar and Erik Condra.

That trio has been the most consistent for Ottawa during their torrid run back into the playoff hunt, and Pageau says his game has found a comfort zone.

"I think I've been more consistent every day with my effort on the ice and I really wanted to train the same way," he said, "I think I've improved, too, in my face-offs and been more physical."

Pageau is also trying to earn an NHL contract for next season, similar to the current contracts for rookies Mark Stone and Mike Hoffman.

Hoffman and Stone are both among the top four point leaders among NHL rookies.

While Pageau is no longer a rookie, the five-foot-nine-inch centre is younger than those two players and he's defied the odds wherever he has played. Ottawa will likely sign him to an NHL deal in the off-season.

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