After spending part of last season in the minor leagues for the first time in years, Cedric Paquette is heading to the KHL. The free agent forward has signed a contract with Dinamo Minsk for the upcoming campaign.
Paquette, 29 (just a few days ago), played 24 games for the Montreal Canadiens and 14 for the Laval Rocket in 2021-22. That was his first minor league experience since 2014-15, when he was still just a young player with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
For his career, Paquette has racked up 95 points in 448 games, playing limited minutes as a bottom-six center. Given that he didn’t score a single goal for the Canadiens in his 24 games – and the emergence of some other young players for the team – it wasn’t a surprise that they didn’t bring him back this year.
But heading to the KHL may still raise some eyebrows, given how close to NHL-caliber he still is. During his short time in the minor leagues, he showed exactly why he doesn’t belong there, scoring nine goals in 14 regular season games.
Paquette will certainly be a name to remember for next offseason, though a year spent in the KHL isn’t going to help his stock unless his offensive game goes through the roof. It is perhaps a sign of just how difficult it is right now for fringe players to land deals as teams continue to deal with tight financial situations.