After agreeing to terms on a brand new three-year contract with his hometown team, Jean-Gabriel Pageau spoke with the media via a conference call on Monday afternoon to discuss the process of getting the deal done, earning his new contract and more...
On getting his new three-year deal done:
I wasn't totally sure how the talks were going but I knew that they were going well. We've always had a good relationship with Pierre Dorion, Bryan Murray before and with the organization. I wanted to stay with this team and I take a lot of pride to play for the Ottawa Senators so I think that helped to get this deal done. I'm very happy.
On growing with the team and this year's deep playoff run:
Those are the game you want to play every year and that's the compete level that you want to have. I felt like at the start of my career that I could become more consistent but to be here now and sign this deal shows the confidence that the team has in me and I don't want to disappoint them. It's like when I signed my first deal here, I didn't want to disappoint them and that's the way I'm going to approach this one too. I know what I have to do to be good and help the team to win some hockey games so that will be my main focus: show up every day and give everything I have.
On earning his spot with the Sens:
I think everyone that plays in the league has to put in the work and deserves their place. Nothing is given to any of them so I'm happy and satisfied with the effort and work I've put in to get here. When you are a player at this level, we're all competitive and we all want to get better but I think Ottawa made it easier for me, all my teammates made it easier for me and I think without them I wouldn't be who I am today. Without all the help that the organization and the coaches have given me from my time in the American League and now in the NHL, I wouldn't be the player I am now.
Building off of last year's post-season:
It was fun to make it as far as we did but I think everyone wanted more. We're all hockey players and competitive so we always want more. I think to make it that far really pushed us and made realize what it takes and the sacrifices that we have to make to get farther. I've talked with a couple of guys already and I think everyone has the same mentality; we all want to come back next season and prove that we're a good team again and that we didn't get lucky. We really deserved to be there and we want to show it again.
His plans for the remainder of the off-season:
I'm going to spend most of my time in Ottawa working out with a couple of the guys. I was there today after arriving home pretty late last night from Florida but I wanted to be there this morning. We'll start skating again soon and it'll be good to be back on the ice with the guys. Some guys will probably fly in for a couple of days and I'm excited to see them all again. I still have some golfing to do in a couple more charity tournaments for some really good causes that I wanted to get behind but other than that it will be a relaxing summer full of training.
Sens GM Pierre Dorion also spoke with the media on Monday afternoon and raved about Pageau's evolution into one of the better defensive centres in the league and how he was happy to avoid the arbitration process altogether with his deserving centre:
As an organization we're thrilled to get this contract done. Arbitration is definitely a path that we did not want to go down with Jean-Gabriel, especially with the way he's performed over the course of the past two seasons. He showed that he's definitely deserving of this contract and any player that has a history of raising his game whether it was in Junior playoffs or American League playoffs or NHL playoffs I think you have to give credit for what he's accomplished. We're really happy to have him on board for the next 3 years. We'll never question Jean-Gabriel's work ethic and we'll never question his tenacity. He's someone that plays with a lot of heart, he's someone that can play against the other team's best centre and our coach seemed to really challenge him to play against the other team's best line. He's shown through the course of the season and playoffs that he's able to frustrate some of the better players on the other teams. He opened a lot of eyes through the league with his play during the playoffs and he's someone that down the road will get some Selke consideration as he continues to mature into his role.