Prospect of the Week: April 10, 2013

We continue our Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their recent contributions on and off the ice.

The Prospect of the Week for April 10 is … Cedric Paquette, C, Blainville-Boisbriand (QMJHL – Canada).

Cedric Paquette was made for the playoffs.

Paquette is at his best when the checking gets tight and grit matters most. The Blainville-Boisbriand center has excelled this post-season, posting a team-leading seven goals and five assists in eight games.

This past week, the 6-1, 200-pound fourth round pick (2012) of the Lightning had four goals and six points in two games, helping the Armada to a 2-0 series lead on Val-d’Or. He added another goal on Tuesday night as his club went up 3-0 in their second round series.

Last Friday, Paquette had two goals and two assists as the Armada crushed the Foreurs in Game 1, 10-1. In Game 2, he scored two more goals. The Armada won 5-4 and Paquette was named first star. He was third star on Tuesday.

Paquette finished his regular season with 27 goals and 56 assists for 83 points in 63 games. He had 31 goals in his draft year, but had just 17 helpers to go with them. He destroyed his career high for assists, points, plus/minus (plus-29), and penalty minutes (103) this season.

He is a near lock for a contract with the Lightning after his junior season is complete though the club has until next June to sign him. Paquette projects as a two-way gritty forward at the NHL level and will likely start his first professional season next year at AHL Syracuse. With the amount of skill forwards in the Lightning system, Paquette is a prime candidate to end up as a checking liner at the NHL level who can pot a few goals and set up several others. He’s a nice piece for the future Bolts.

We rank him No. 24 among Lightning prospects, which speaks to the depth of the Lightning system under Steve Yzerman.

Honorable Mentions: Congratulations Mark Barberio (Tampa Bay) for his first NHL callp-up, Jake Dotchin (OHL Barrie) for stout defensive play for the 8-0 Colts, and new Syracuse Crunch members Tanner Richard and Andrej Sustr for their first professional points.

Previous 2012-2013 Prospect of the Week winners:

April 3, Matt Peca, W, Quinnipiac University, NCAA-USA
March 25, Tyler Johnson, C, Tampa Bay, NHL-USA
March 19, Dylan Blujus, D, Brampton, OHL-Canada
March 12, Radko Gudas, D, Tampa Bay, NHL-USA
March 4, Ondrej Palat, W, Syracuse, AHL-USA
February 25, Ondrej Palat, W, Syracuse, AHL-USA
February 19, Nikita Kucherov, W, Rouyn-Noranda, QMJHL-Canada
February 12, Alex Killorn, C/W, Tampa Bay, NHL-USA
February 5, Cory Conacher, W, Tampa Bay, NHL-USA
January 30, Nikita Kucherov, W, Rouyn-Noranda, QMJHL-Canada
January 23, Cory Conacher, W, Tampa Bay, NHL-USA
January 15, Artem Sergeev, D, Val-d’Or, QMJHL-Canada
World Juniors break
December 17, Alex Killorn, C/W, Syracuse, AHL-Canada
December 10, Nikita Kucherov, RW, Rouyn-Noranda, QMJHL-Canada
December 3, Cedric Paquette, C, Blainville-Boisbriand, QMJHL-Canada
November 25, Tyler Johnson, C, Syracuse, AHL-USA
November 20, Richard Panik, W, Syracuse, AHL-USA
November 12, Alex Hutchings, W, Florida, ECHL-USA
November 5, Nikita Kucherov, W, Quebec, QMJHL-Canada
October 30, Slater Koekkoek, D, Peterborough, OHL-Canada
October 23, Dustin Tokarski, G, Syracuse, AHL-USA
October 15, Cory Conacher, W, Syracuse, AHL-USA
October 9, Cedric Paquette, C, Blainville-Boisbriand, QMJHL-Canada
October 2, Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, Ufa Jr, MHL-Russia
September 25, Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, Ufa Jr, MHL-Russia