Cedric Paquette was made for the playoffs.
Paquette is at his best when grit matters most and the checking gets tight. 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. BoltProspects.com ranks him No. 24 among Lightning prospects, which speaks to the depth of the Lightning system under Steve Yzerman.