Daniel Paille was chosen by the Buffalo Sabres in the first round (20th overall) of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. After being chosen, he spent three years in the OHL’s Guelph Storm . Paille put up ninety-seven goals, one hundred assists, and averaged forty-eight minutes in penalties(per season). The Storm made the playoffs all three years that Paille played for them. He was promoted to the Buffalo’s AHL affiliate Hockey League the Rochester Americans. After playing the 2004-05 season with the Americans, he split the next three seasons between Rochester and Buffalo before advancing permanently to the NHL during the 2007-08 season.
Paille made his NHL debut for the Sabres on December 22, 2005, in a match-up against the Florida Panthers. He went on to score his first assist on December 23, 2005, against the Tampa Bay Lightning. January 14, 2006, Paille recorded his first goal in a match-up between the Sabres and the Los Angeles Kings. Paille’s three seasons with the Sabres were productive. He put up thirty four goals and thirty nine assists. In his time with the Sabres, Paille sustained two broken fingers and two concussions. In 2007, Sabres management offered Paille a one year contract. The next year, they gave Paille a two year contract.
Paille was traded to the Boston Bruins on October 20, 2009 for a third-round and a conditional fourth-round draft selection. The Boston/Buffalo trade was the first of a player under contract between the two division rivals in their history. Daniel Paille, now #20 scored his first goal as a Bruin on November 10, 2009. Paille’s first goal was also the 900th career assist for Bruins’ Alternate Captain Marc Recchi. The importance of Paille’s acquisition by the Bruins was his emergence as a penalty killing forward. That ability was showcased on April 10, 2010, as Paille, Steve Begin, and Blake Wheeler combined for the first-ever known trio of short handed goals within one penalty kill, in only sixty four seconds of game time, at home against the Carolina Hurricanes. Paille ended up with ten goals and ten assists that year.
Daniel Paille took head coach Claude Julien’s decision to sit him for the bulk of the first two thirds(35 games in the ’09-’10 season) as motivation to work harder and prove he belonged in the lineup once the coach put him on the ice. Paille did that with some aggressive penalty-killing and some offensive down the stretch. Coach Julien has been known to tinker with his line configurations. He moved Brad Marchand up and put Paille in with Gregory Campbell, and Shawn Thornton. What used to be called the ‘Energy Line’ started to taste like an unassuming red. In his abbreviated season, he put up six goals and seven assists.
In the 2010-2011 season, Paille’s scoring was about the same. He scored fifteen points overall that season. However, Paille’s contributions were most felt on the penalty kill. In game three of the Stanley Cup Finals his penalty kill team went a perfect eight-for-eight. #20 and linemate Gregory Campbell played a huge role in keeping the aggressive Vancouver powerplay to only two goals in the seven game series. During the length of the playoffs Paille racked up three goals and three assists. Daniel Paille got to fully appreciate his hard work as he hoisted the Stanley Cup as a world champion on June 15, 2011.
The the 2011-2012 season saw Paille performing adequately. Paille scored nine goals and six assists through sixty-nine games. Paille was the high scorer of the Merlot Line, and had a minute fraction of the line’s overall penalty minutes.( 15 out of 249.) Paille lost nine games due to injuries. He suffered a mild concussion, and was the victim of a vicious slapshot to the face . In March when Claude Julien chose him to sit out for several games giving Jordan Coran a shot on the Merlot Line with Soupy and Thorny. Granted, a fourth line player is supposed to suck up time while the main line gets a second to take a little breather. In my opinion, Paille is one of those players that is always going to be under the radar, but will always meet or exceed our expectations.