BOSTON – Daniel Paille should be returning to Boston in the fall with a higher level of confidence after putting together his best year in a Bruins uniform.
Paille was among the biggest surprises during the regular season when he put together 10 goals and 17 points in 46 regular-season games with a plus-3 rating as he helped the B’s fourth line rebound to its 2011 Stanley Cup form.
Many felt Paille was the only worthy recipient for the Bruins “7th Player Award,” given to the player who most exceeds expectations during the season. It was a solid campaign, considering the winger’s ability to kill penalties and bring energy to the table.
But Paille was just getting started.
The 29-year-old had four goals and nine points in 22 playoff games along with a plus-4 rating, and had three game-winning goals for the Black and Gold during the postseason.
He helped Boston’s “Merlot Line” dominate during the second-round playoff series win over the New York Rangers, and then really helped Boston’s third line come to life for the first time all season when paired with Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin.
“Individually I wanted to improve, and I know there’s still room for improvement,” said Paille. “I think that’s one thing I wanted to do and I hope I accomplished that this year. But to be a consistent player I want to continue that, and I want to do that next season as well as the future.”
“We’ve definitely had some ups and downs during the regular season. But through the playoffs I believe that we definitely come together and played for each other. I think it goes a long way and it helps us as a group.”
It should only be bigger and better things for Paille and the Bruins next season. All members of the Merlot Line will return, and should be poised to defend their title as the best fourth line in hockey.