RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Cedric Paquette has a chance to play for a team he never liked playing against.
“I know in Tampa, they don’t enjoy coming here,” the former Lightning center said of the thought of playing at PNC Arena. “They’re hard-working and always on top of you. They reload and don’t give you a lot of space.
“I’m happy I’m with them right now.”
Paquette and Alex Galchenyuk were traded to the Hurricanes on Saturday. In return, the Ottawa Senators received forward Ryan Dzingel. Galchenyuk has since cleared waivers and is not expected to be a part of the Hurricanes plans.
Paquette, on the other hand, will be counted on to center the fourth line. He’s not known for his scoring, but that will not be his role with Carolina. Paquette is a physical player who will help out on the penalty kill, making him a perfect fit for this hard-working group.
“That grit and that grind and hard to play against, that’s what we want,” said Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour. “We’re getting to where we have 20 guys like that in our lineup, and that’s what you want. We want to make it hard on the other team.”
Carolina was lacking a true fourth-line center. That’s what Paquette brings to the table. Banging and creating space is what he’s known for, and that’s how he’ll continue to play in a ‘Canes uniform.
“He told me to play the same way I was playing in Tampa,” Paquette said of his talk with Brind’Amour. “I’ll have the same role I’ve had all these years, and I’m looking forward to doing the same here.
“I just don’t want to change anything, be physical, be good on the PK (penalty kill) and bring energy and be a good teammate.”
His current teammates seem happy he’s now a Hurricane.
“We played last year against him. He’s a tough dude,” said Carolina star Andrei Svechnikov. “He’s hard to play against. He plays a physical game and he looked good out there this morning.”
Paquette won a Stanley Cup title last season with Tampa Bay. Adding a proven winner to the lineup is never a bad thing.
“I think anytime you can get guys that know how to win, that have been there and done that, I think that helps,” Brind’Amour said. “He’s the kind of player that I think will fit in well here. He comes to the rink and he gives an honest effort and that’s all you can ask.”
And now Paquette goes from an Ottawa team in rebuild mode to a Hurricanes squad chasing a championship.
“I’m happy to be here and to get a fresh start,” Paquette said.