LEWISTON – Marc-Andre Daneau is one of the more solid veterans returning to the Lewiston Maineiacs this season, having put on at least 10 pounds in the offseason – all in upper-body muscle.

Five minutes into Tuesday night’s exhibition game, Daneau, extra size and all, went for a tumble, courtesy of the Maineiacs’ newest first-round pick, Danick Hudon-Paquette.

If there is pressure on the young rookie, he hasn’t shown signs of it – yet.

The Lewiston Maineiacs’ No. 1 selection in this year’s entry draft has taken to his new surroundings well.

“I’m really enjoying it,” Hudon-Paquette said in his native French. “I’m doing what I can to perform my best for now, and it’s going well, I think.”

Hudon-Paquette was not rated as a first-round pick by most prognosticators heading into the draft, but was a bull’s-eye on the Maineiacs’ radar from the beginning, thanks to his gritty style of play and knack for being in the right place at the right time, whatever the physical cost.

“My game, it’s always to hit, to get in the way,” said Hudon-Paquette. “Also, though, I want to be able to score goals. That’s how I will contribute.”

“We knew what to expect from him and, so far, he’s in the mold,” said Lewiston head coach and general manager Clem Jodoin. “From there, as long as he stays in that mold, we’ll see what we’ll do with him.”

The biggest hurdle for the young forward has been his foot speed.

“The game is a little bit faster than I am used to, and it’s going to take some time for me to adjust,” said Hudon-Paquette.

Jodoin concurred, but said that his learning curve, and the skills he has displayed so far, are normal.

“He shouldn’t be the guy carrying the team, but there are some good signs,” said Jodoin. “He’s good with the puck, and he’s strong on the puck. He has to work on his skating, but the hockey sense is there, and he showed some grit.”

The big hit on Daneau was the second strong start in a row for Hudon-Paquette, who marked up and drilled four different potential teammates in Monday’s intrasquad session. he also added an assist Tuesday.

“What it’s going to take, I’m going to have to work hard every shift I get, and what I personally have to do is hit, be physical and score.”

“It’s the beginning for him,” said Jodoin. “I don’t want to be too high, and I don’t want to be too low. As long as he’s working hard and competing and has some hockey sense, he’s all set.”


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