2009-10: Cedric Paquette skated in 32 of 40 games for the College Notre-Dame Albatros in his second season in the Quebec Midget AAA league. He scored 10 goals with 18 assists and had a team-leading 83 penalty minutes. College Notre-Dame finished 13th in the 15-team league. In eight playoff games Paquette scored 5 goals with 2 assists and had 24 penalty minutes. He was selected by the Montreal Juniors in the sixth round (98th overall) of the 2010 QMJHL Entry Draft.
2010-11: Paquette appeared in four QMJHL games with Montreal and led College Notre-Dame with 28 goals. He had 2 goals and was minus-two with the Juniors. In 34 midget AAA games with the Albatros he had a team-high 102 penalty minutes . He had 27 assists and his 55 points were tied with Alexis Loiseau for tops on the Albatros. College Notre-Dame finished second in Quebec and reached the playoff finals. In 17 playoff games Paquette scored 5 goals with 11 assists and had 36 penalty minutes.
2011-12: Paquette played for the re-named Blainville-Boisbriand Armada in his first full QMJHL season. An 18-year-old rookie, he led the Armada with 31 goals and had 17 assists in 63 games. Quebec finished third in the East Division and reached the second round of the playoffs. In 11 playoff games he scored 7 goals with 10 assists and was plus-six with 22 penalty minutes. Not among the 210 North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings prior to the 2012 NHL Draft, Paquette was selected by Tampa Bay in the fourth round (101st overall) in his second year of draft eligibility.
2012-13: Paquette signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Lightning and made his pro hockey debut in May of 2013 — skating in three AHL playoff games with Tampa Bay’s AHL affiliate in Syracuse — following his third QMJHL season. Paquette had no points nor penalties and finished with an even plus/minus in his brief AHL stint. The Crunch finished first in the East Division and reached the Calder Cup Finals, falling to champion Grand Rapids. Paquette was the leading scorer for Blainville-Boisbriand and his 103 penalty minutes were one less than team leader Aaron Hoyles. In 63 regular season games he scored 27 goals with a team-high 56 assists and was +29. The Armada finished first in the West Division and reached the playoff semifinals. Paquette scored 7 goals with 5 assists in 15 playoff games and was +3 with 33 penalty minutes.
2013-14: Paquette made his NHL debut with the Lightning in an April 11th game against Columbus and appeared in two regular season games and four playoff games for Tampa Bay after skating for AHL affiliate Syracuse in his first pro season. He had 1 assists and was +1, averaging 14:32 minute of ice time in his two regular season games and was -2 with 2 assists and 16 penalty minutes, averaging 10:33 minutes of ice time in the playoffs. Paquette was the third-leading scorer for the AHL’s Crunch behind former first-round picks Brett Connolly and Vladislav Namestnikov. He scored 20 goals with 24 assists and had an even plus/minus, finishing third on the team with 153 penalty minutes in 70 regular season games. The Crunch finished fifth in the East Division, missing the AHL playoffs.
2014-15: Paquette played his way into a full-time role with the Lightning after opening the year with AHL affiliate Syracuse. He skated in 64 regular season games after being recalled at the end of October, missing time in March with an upper-body injury. Paquettes scored 12 goals with 7 assists and was +4 with 51 penalty minutes, averaging 13:36 minutes of ice time. In five games with the Crunch prior to being recalled he scored 4 goals with 3 assists and was +8 with 7 penalty minutes.
Paquette has made great strides since being passed over in his draft year. He has some scoring skills and skates well but what sets him apart from other forwards in the Tampa Bay system is his hard-nosed approach and relentless nature. He is a near-unstoppable forechecker who can also hold his own offensively. With soft hands around the net and the ability to create chances with his rough and tumble play down low, Paquette needs to continues to improve his skating and round out his game.
Paquette established himself as a competent two-way forward in his rookie season with the Lightning — providing supplementary scoring and a physical edge to a Tampa Bay lineup with several offensively gifted scorers. Though overshadowed by some of those offensive talents, Paquette's production should improve as he gains experience and continues to mature physically. His ability and willingness to play a variety of roles should ensure him a steady role for the foreseeable future.