Bon anniversaire to Cedric Paquette as the Gaspe, Quebec native turns 23 years old!
Drafted by the Lightning in the 4th round, 101st overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Paquette re-signed with the Lightning for two more years after completing his entry level contract this past season. An older prospect, Paquette was a late bloomer. He turned 18 at the beginning of his first full season in the QMJHL for the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. He put up 48 points in 63 games and another 17 points in 11 playoff games showing enough talent to get him drafted. He went back to the Armada for another season and wore an A as an Alternate Captain and scored 83 points in 63 games and 12 points in 15 playoff games.
At the end of 2012-13, Paquette joined the Syracuse Crunch on an amateur try out as the Crunch played their way to the Calder Cup Finals. He played in three games and was pointless. In 2013-14, he fully began his professional career with the Syracuse Crunch with an impressive 44 points in 70 games. He played well enough to gain the trust of the coaching staff and played in two games with the Lightning at the end of the year with an assist and played in all four playoff games with two assists.
For the 2014-15 season, Paquette only played in 5 games for Syracuse with 7 points and spent the rest of the year in Tampa. He had 19 points in 64 games and followed with 3 goals in 24 playoff games as the Lightning advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals. He had 15 goals overall in 2014-15 and showed a nose for the net as he would often get dirty goals along with the occasional pretty snipe.
2015-16 started off rough for Paquette as he hurt his foot in the preseason and re-aggravated the injury multiple times throughout the season. He did not seem himself for much of the season, often lacking the speed and energy he had exhibited earlier. Chad and the guys at BoltProspects.com had dubbed Paquette “Dump Truck” during the 2012-13 Crunch playoffs. The idea behind it is that a Dump Truck isn’t pretty and it isn’t fancy, but it’s solid and it does work and you can rely on it. Paquette didn’t live up to the nickname in 2015-16, most likely because of the injuries he dealt with throughout the year. He only had 11 points in 56 games and just 1 assist in 17 playoff games.
Paquette will look to rebound this season and get back around that 20 point mark, which would be useful production from the bottom lines as he also plays a defensively responsible game and has been one of the more tenacious penalty killers for the Lightning.
As an exhibit to the skill that Paquette does contain in his stick, we’ll leave you with this video of Paquette scoring a hat trick against the Detroit Red Wings. Happy Birthday Ceddy!