The first instalment of Tampa Bay Lightning Playoff Player Grades generated an overwhelming and expected response, with Victor Hedman earning high praise from nearly everyone who voted in the last blog’s poll. His consensus A+ grade was well-deserved. Today, we continue the series with a player who took on a very different role form that occupied by Hedman: Cedric Paquette
The fact that Paquette is included in almost every list of potential and palatable cap casualties for the Lightning should tell you that his playoff run wasn’t particularly memorable. In 25 appearances, he tallied zero goals and three assists. His underlying numbers, while positive in the absolute sense, were among the squad’s worst relative to his Lightning teammates. Of specific note is his five-on-five goals against / 60 minutes number, which ranked dead last among Lightning forwards in the postseason, per Natural Stat Trick. Simply put, Paquette really didn’t live up to the $1.65M salary he is going to carry into next season.
Granted, that’s not to say it was all bad for the team’s fourth-line centre. His faceoff win percentage was on the right side of 50%, and he was able to give the team an average of more than ten minutes per night. He also helped in the “tough to play against” department, which has been cited by many as a major reason this Lightning team crossed the finish line where others failed. If his role as a fourth-line player was to do nothing but eat minutes in an attempt to keep better players fresh, maybe we can consider his run a marginal success; the team did win the Stanley Cup, after all.