What began with a chant during a remarkable hat trick performance in the playoffs against Montreal has grown, and the legend of Jean-Gabriel Pageau continues to grow over the off-season.
But is the player ready for the attention?
Pageau was a 4th round pick just 2 years ago, and even at the start of last year the Senators weren’t sure there was a spot for him in professional hockey and toyed with the idea of sending him back to junior as an overager, something that rarely happens for top level prospects. In the end, they gave him a shot in Binghamton, and he had a slow start to his first pro season.
Then, almost by default, the centre got the call to make his NHL debut and he became an instant fan favorite.
But now, can he handle the newfound local fame and focus on continuing to progress as a hockey player?
TSN even did a profile on the young local product on Monday’s Sportcentre on TSN.
Pageau seems down to earth enough to take it all in stride, but I am not sure he can duplicate the performance on the ice that may have led to very high expectations for the coming season, where some people have him as high as the second line on the depth chart. It was definitely a highlight of the playoffs, but I am not sure the encore will meet expectations.