NEWARK, NJ Daniel Paille probably had an idea that his contract extension conference call on Friday was going to be hijacked by Tim Thomas sabbatical questions, but the affable fourth-line winger took it all in stride.
Paille signed a three-year deal worth 3.9 million on Friday that will keep him in Boston through the 2014-15 season, and will continue to bring his rapid skating speed and ace penalty kill skills to the table.
We acquired Dan in a trade and we really feel like our penalty kill and team speed has improved since that point. Hes a terrific penalty killer and a smart player when hes in that role. Hes a tremendous skater and he uses it to be a really good penalty kill specialist.
But having said that hes got the skills to play up the lineup, but we havent really seen that yet. In my mind hes still a young player and I think hes still learning things.
Weve seen some players that learn some things in their late 20s and I think Dan is one of those kinds of players. He was part of that group that won a Stanley Cup and Im excited to have him back. At the very least were going to keep getting what weve gotten from Paille and were very happy with that.
The 28-year-old finished with 15 points (9 goals, 6 assists) in 69 games, but Pailles value goes far beyond the numbers. Hes a versatile player that can move up and down the lineup based on need, and can fill in at different wing positions when injury or ineffectiveness create an opening.
Paille also gets dozens of breakaway chances in any given season with his combination of speed and instincts, and Peter Chiarelli believes experience and maturation could allow him to become a player that finishes off more of those chances in the coming years. Just as players like Johnny Boychuk, Tim Thomas, Rich Peverley and Dennis Seidenberg blossomed in their mid-to-late twenties, Paille could be somebody that steps up in his roster role.
I felt like Ive learned a lot in the last three seasons. I think what Peter Chiarelli and the coaching staff allow me to do is grow as a player and show a lot of positive things out on the ice, said Paille. As a player you want to improve every year. There are certain aspects I need to work on and I plan on doing that.
In the big picture I have a great role already on this team and I could maybe have an even greater role. I definitely feel like I have a lot more to give and that Im just coming into my prime. That bodes well for me in the future.
Paille may never be a top line player, but with a little more confidence and composure with the puck around the net, perhaps hell score 20 goals once or twice before his new contract is done.