Officially, Daniel Paille joined Boston in October in the first-ever trade between the Bruins and Buffalo (the official classification of Peter McNab for Andre Savard in ’76 notwithstanding).
That wasn’t the only history made in that deal however. Paille’s arrival with the Bruins also gave backers of the boys in black and gold a new “Aww” player. You know the type. He has the speed and knowledge to get free for breakaways and golden opportunities only to miss the net or shoot the puck into the goaltender’s midsection and incite a collective “aww” from the hometown crowd almost every time.
In a year during which every Bruins forward failed to do enough offensively, Paille was far from the biggest culprit of ineptitude. His arrival on the scene did exactly what it was meant to do, as the Bruins’ penalty kill soared from the bottom of the league to near the top almost instantly. But the Bruins could’ve used a little more of the 19-goal Paille of ’07-08 to fill in where others were hurt or ineffective.
Stats: 76 GP (with Buff/Bos), 10-9-19, 12 PIM, minus 3
Season highlight: With the Bruins one game removed from snapping their 10-game losing streak, they needed something to help keep the positive vibes going. Paille returned to his old romping grounds in Buffalo and scored twice in the first 11:58 of what wound up being a 3-2 shootout win Feb. 9.
Season low-light: Pick a game and Paille probably had a failed breakaway in it. That’s why other than his shorthanded goal against Carolina April 10, he didn’t score another goal in his final 36 games of the season.
Final grade: B-minus
Paille formed a great PK pair with Steve Begin, but all the time he spent on top lines filling in for more capable injured players should’ve resulted in more offensive output instead of momentum turning failed chances.
The crystal ball says … the Bruins might’ve given away that third-round pick to the Sabres because they might not be able to bring Paille back as an RFA and also do what they want to do to rework the team under the salary cap and work in some younger players on their lower lines.