Paille open to third-line bump with Bruins

Paille open to third-line bump with Bruins
August 14, 2013, 10:00 am
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While there is more roster upheaval heading into this season than any other for the nucleus of Boston Bruins players, there are some areas where change won’t be coming. It was thought that the Merlot Line might be one of those places after the trio of Shawn Thornton, Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille proved once again last spring why they are the best fourth line in the NHL.

All three forwards dominated during the second round of the playoffs against the New York Rangers, and it’s clear the Bruins weren’t the same after Campbell went down with a broken leg in the Eastern Conference Final. Paille had four goals and nine points in 22 playoff games for the Bruins, and notched three game-winning goals in the playoffs helping push the Black and Gold to the Cup Final.

That’s where the bitter end arrived in the final minutes of Game 6 when the Bruins fell to the Blackhawks, a development Paille is still attempting to shake off.

“We have to look forward and realize what we’ve got,” said Paille. “I think we’re all looking forward to it. We definitely want to get the chemistry going early on, and progress as much as we can throughout training camp and the season.”

That was after Paille finished with 10 goals and 17 points in 46 regular season games in arguably his best regular season since arriving in Boston four years ago. Dougie Hamilton won the 7th Player Award for the Bruins at the end of last season, but there were many pulling for Paille to get some recognition after putting together such a solid all-around campaign.

One potential development after last year’s standout season: Paille might be in line for a promotion. The speedy, gritty winger was bumped up to a line with Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin toward the end of the playoffs, and performed well as he has during intermittently getting bumped up the lineup over the last few years.

So it’s expected that the 29-year-old Paille could compete for an open wing spot on the third line depending on whether or not the Bruins coaching staff wants to bust up such a good fourth line. There should be an open competition on either side of Kelly with names like Jordan Caron, Carl Soderberg, Ryan Spooner, Matt Fraser, Reilly Smith and Jared Knight already expected to battle for roster spots.

Either way Paille said he’ll be ready to compete when training camp opens next month.

“There are definitely some big changes from last year,” admitted Paille. “For me I don’t want to change too much. I just want to continue the trend of last year, and build off of that. If an opportunity comes up where I get a chance to play that third line spot, then I definitely will.

“But I’m not quite sure what the circumstances are going to be at this point. I’m not going to go with any expectations going into camp. I’ll just see what the positioning is going to be. I definitely have no problem playing with Soupie and Thorny because we’ve had a lot of success over the years.”

Either way, both Paille and the Bruins are in a pretty good moving forward into next season with the versatile winger getting better with each and every season in Boston.