Rangers sign Paille to aid penalty kill

In a move that addresses depth, the Rangers signed forward Daniel Paille. The 31-year old veteran agreed to a two-way contract that’ll pay him $575,000 in the NHL and $100,000 in the AHL.

A smart defensive minded fourth liner who excels on the penalty kill, Paille likely will fill that role as a Ranger. Best known for his checking as a Bruin helping them win a Stanley Cup in ’10-11, he also hurt the Rangers in a second round loss in 2013. He excelled on a line with Greg Campbell and Shawn Thornton for Boston tallying four goals and five helpers in a return trip to the Stanley Cup Final against Chicago that same year. The Hawks won the series in six.

Paille will wear number 12. Not the most popular number. Ales Kotalik donned it. Former Black Ace favorite Ed Olczyk also wore it on the ’93-94 championship team. Don Maloney is the best Ranger to wear 12 spending more than a decade on some exciting teams including 1979 when they lost to Montreal for the Cup and again fell to the Canadiens in 1986. He is 11th all-time on the Rangers scoring list with 502 points (195-307-502).

Interestingly, one of Paille’s closest friends is Dan Girardi, who had some nice words for his new teammate. After spending the past six seasons in Boston, he was unsigned. Paille had been playing for Rockford in the AHL with a goal and three helpers in 31 games. If he plays, he won’t provide much offense. But on a team that’s struggled badly on the penalty kill falling all the way down to 25th overall (78.9 percent), the move is understandable. Somewhat curiously, it’s gotten much worse since they let go of Jarret Stoll. This tweet from Andrew Gross.

While others are up in arms over the lack of trust the coaching staff has in rookie Oscar Lindberg, let’s be honest. The penalty kill has been brutal. It’s cost them games. They’ve been giving up way too many power play goals. Whether it be Jesper Fast out of position or the D not covering in front, there are too many gaps. Bringing in a vet on the cheap who at least can fill a role unlike Jayson Megna, who should be going down to Hartford before Friday’s game at Carolina is low risk.

Paille took the morning skate and could be in tomorrow. Chris Kreider didn’t participate with neck spasms. Hopefully, he doesn’t miss a game. He’s been going well with points in four straight including three goals. Derick Brassard practiced. So, he’ll probably be back in. He skated with Rick Nash and Mats Zuccarello. With Kreider out, Fast was with Derek Stepan and J.T. Miller. Kevin Hayes was centering Lindberg and Viktor Stalberg, who has been a solid penalty killer. I wonder why they don’t try Miller on it. He seems like a logical candidate. A tenacious player with decent speed. While it’s true he is still mistake prone, his role has expanded.

Most notable is that the organization doesn’t want to call up anyone. Not even Ryan Bourque, who can kill penalties. Despite his size, I’ve always felt he should be given a shot on the fourth line. Instead, we’re left with Tanner Glass, who Alain Vigneault also uses on the penalty kill. Nothing against Glass. He’s been solid. But he’s not a good skater. It seems like misuse by a coach who loves him. Hopefully, Paille can aid the PK. If he can, maybe he rotates in with Glass.

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of New York administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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