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