Sens sign local product

Senators prospect Jean-Gabriel Pageau was traded to Chicoutimi by the Gatineau Olympiques in...

Senators prospect Jean-Gabriel Pageau was traded to Chicoutimi by the Gatineau Olympiques in 2011-12. (Roger Gagnon/QMI Agency)

Don Brennan, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:18 PM ET

OTTAWA - The Senators signed Jean-Gabriel Pageau to his first pro contract Wednesday.

Whether he kick-starts it next season is up to the Ottawa native.

After announcing the team’s fourth-round pick in 2011 had agreed to an entry-level deal, Senators assistant GM Tim Murray put the ball in Pageau’s court.

“It’s great to get him signed,” Murray said of the 5-foot-9, 164-pound centre, who starred for the Gatineau Olympiques before a trade sent him to Chicoutimi late this past season. “(He’s a) highly talented kid who had a great playoff a year ago in the final. We just think he’s a prospect (who) certainly has things to work on. It’s great to get him signed so we can get him in here and get working on it.

“From an age standpoint, he’s eligible to go to the American league and play there,” added Murray. “That’s up to him. (If) he has a big summer and gets stronger, comes to training camp in good shape, and looks like he can play in the American league, we’ll give him every opportunity to do that. If it doesn’t look like he’s quite ready for that level yet, then we’ll have to talk to him and go through our options.

“He’d be a star, in my opinion, in Quebec as an overage, (but) hopefully he’s good enough and strong enough to play in the American league next year for us.”

Pageau, 19, is ready for the challenge. After scoring 80 goals and 175 points in four years as a junior, he’s anxious to bulk up and prove he’s ready for the pros.

“I’m very happy, that’s a great offer they gave me and I very much appreciate it,” Pageau said. “I think that’s a good motivation for the future, for my summer. It’s a big training season and I’m ready to do the sacrifice.”

Murray announced that the team is going to part ways with Marcus Sorensen, a fourth-round pick in 2010 who had just 17 points in 29 games for Boras HC in Sweden this past season.

“We didn’t feel he had taken big enough steps to get an entry-level deal and get into the organization, and so we’ve gone by him,” said Murray.

That leaves 67’s winger Shane Prince, a second-rounder in 2011. He had 90 points (43 goals) for coach Chris Byrne in 2011-12.

“We’re in daily contact with his agency and hopefully we’re close on him,” said Murray.

don.brennan@sunmedia.ca

 


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