Paquet back as Flyers look for grit and size

Phil Paquet - signed for second season for Fife Flyers
Phil Paquet - signed for second season for Fife Flyers

Philippe Paquet is back with Fife Flyers for a second season - but he could return to a different looking blue line.

The French Canadian defenceman is the third player from the 2015-16 roster to put pen to paper and confirm a return to Kirkcaldy.

The announcement comes as Todd Dutiaume, head coach, spoke of his plans to add some muscle to his roster.

He said last season’s team lack ‘‘a bit of size and grittiness’’ and he planned to rectify that for the 2016-17 campaign - something many fans wanted to see last season.

For Paquet, the plan is to push ahead and challenge for silverware.

The 29 year old from Quebec, said: ‘‘I feel the club has taken a big step forward and we’re now ready to move up the table and bring home some silverware.’’

Paquet brings huge experience to the dressing-room having played in the ECHL, as well as Austria and Denmark, and his name was high up the list of returnees as far as the coach was concerned.

“He’s a great guy on and off the ice and is respected by his peers,” said Dutiaume.

“He moves the puck well and uses his size to his advantage. He gives his all and I know he is keen to continue where we left off last season. He’s hungry for silverware and we need that hunger to push us on.”

With three imports confirmed, Flyers team building is up and running earlier than usual, but new faces have yet to be unveiled.

Dutiaume did confirm his week the club would go with the maximum 14 imports being sanctioned by the EIHL next season - 11 non EU, and three of EU background - but that came with a warning.

‘‘We will of course be starting with 14 imports,’’ said Dutiaume. ‘‘Over the past five seasons we’ve seen how important it is to be at full strength at all times.

‘‘But with numbers always increasing it stretches many clubs including ourselves to a breaking point.’’ Dutiaume told the club website.

‘‘Being a gate based club forces a number of us to draw a line in the sand. Where that line is I’m not entirely sure but I know we are approaching it quickly.”

That means a busy summer off ice for the club as they build a team they believe can mount a credible bid for honours.

Bringing in players with more size and muscle could be key to their hopes.

“Last season we were exciting and dynamic but I feel we lacked a bit of size and grittiness,’’ said Dutiaume. ‘‘That is an area that we will be looking to improve upon as well as finding that level of consistency immediately as we know how crucial that is to league success.”