Paquette Joins Lightning Organization
The Tampa Bay Lightning have agreed to terms with center Cedric Paquette on a three-year, entry-level contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced. Paquette also signed an AHL ATO for the remainder of the season.
Paquette, 6-foot, 187 pounds, played in 63 games with the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League this past season, recording 27 goals, including six on the power-play, and 83 points with a plus-29 rating and 103 penalty minutes. He led the Armada for points, assists and shots on goal with 261, while ranking second for plus/minus and penalty minutes. Paquette was also fourth on the team in goals. He played in 15 postseason games, registering seven goals and 12 points. Paquette was tied for the team lead for goals and led for penalty minutes with 33.
A native of Gaspe, Quebec, Paquette has played in 126 QMJHL games during his two-year career with Blainville-Boisbriand, amassing 58 goals and 131 points with 191 penalty minutes. He has also appeared in 26 postseason games, notching 14 goals and 29 points. He led the Armada with 31 goals in 2011-12. Prior to joining the Armada Paquette played three seasons for College Notre-Dame in Montreal, scoring 28 goals in 2010-11 before going to the QMJHL.
Paquette was drafted by Tampa Bay in the fourth round, 101st overall, of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
The Lightning hasn't had a player like Paquette in the system since Steve Downie was sent to Colorado. Paquette is an agitator who can both dish and score, but he's also been known to drop the gloves to back up his chirping. His edge tends to get him into trouble - as a late penalty earlier this year got him stripped of his alternate captain's A, and in the playoffs he ignited an end-of-game brawl by taunting the opposition. He's not the biggest player, but he's solid and isn't shy about hitting. He's fair on faceoffs and while he was more of a scorer during the year he was drafted, this past year he became more of an assist guy, shattering his previous career high for assists, 56-17. If he's able to put everything together, he can be a formidable second liner, but more than likely he'll be a key piece to the third and fourth lines of Syracuse and Tampa Bay in the years to come. Don't discount the importance of his player type and the extra ingredient he can bring a club (when done with a team-first priority).
Look for Paquette to find a role in Syracuse next season, though he may spend some time in the ECHL depending on the Crunch's depth at the beginning of the year. He could push for some time in Tampa in 2-3 seasons.