Paille ready to move up Bruins lineup if needed

Paille ready to move up Bruins lineup if needed
August 12, 2014, 9:30 am
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(USA Today Sports)

MIDDLETON – If there is one Bruins player with some upward mobility in the rebooting of the B’s fourth line, it’s speedy, talented winger Daniel Paille.

The left wing has regularly played up in the B’s forward lineup in the past when injuries hit the top three lines, and his combination of speed and gritty determination hand him a solid amount of scoring chances. Consistently finishing on those breakaway chances and typical scoring opportunities has been the bugaboo for Paille in the past, and he finished with an okay nine goals and 18 points in 72 games last season while battling through a couple concussions.

It was a far cry from the season prior when the 30-year-old Paille snapped in 10 goals and 17 points in just 46 games while shining for the B’s fourth line, and flashed the kind of promise that made him a first round pick in Buffalo many moons ago (2002 to be exact). That untapped potential could make him a workable third line wing option for the Bruins where Carl Soderberg could make use of his blazing skating speed, and that’s the kind of promotional challenge that Paille would welcome.

“It’s definitely going to be a big change for us this year. We’d established ourselves with Shawn for so long, and now we need to reinvent that,” said Paille when asked what might be facing him and Gregory Campbell now that Merlot Line cohort Shawn Thornton has signed with the Florida Panthers for two seasons. “We’re really not sure where we’re going to be playing, or who we’re going to be playing with for that matter.

“I think we’re all just going to enjoy the moment, and embrace it. If we play with different players then we’re going to enjoy it. I know my role on the team, and I have no complaints playing on the fourth line. If I get to play on the third line then there are no complaints there either.”

Both Paille and Campbell are entering the final years of their contracts with the Bruins, and the era of established, veteran fourth line players may be challenged by the tight salary cap situations for so many NHL teams. Paille should finally get his chance this season to show that he can do more for a playoff team like Boston than simply be an exceptional fourth line player and ace penalty killer, which is also nothing to downplay at the NHL level.