Daniel Paille is hard to grade. He was taken 20th overall by the Sabres in the 2002 Draft, and based on that his six goals and seven assists in 43 regular-season games look a little shabby.
But that's unfair to do, and based on the grades for Gregory Campbell and Rich Peverley inconsistent with the grading so far.
For most of the year, Paille was in and out of the lineup. Personally, I thought he was extremely irritating because he had zero scoring touch. With his great speed he was able to produce some good chances, especially on the penalty kill, but could never finish.
Paille seemed destined for the ninth floor in the playoffs, but improved his game over the last month of the season, putting up three goals and an assist in the last five games of the season.
Paille played every game in the playoffs, becoming a key part of the success of the fourth line. He had three goals and three assists in the playoffs, half his regular-season goal total and almost half his point total.
Paille's key playoff and regular-season contribution came on the penalty kill. He was invaluable facing the Canadiens, Lightning, and Canucks, all with great power plays. The Bruins killed penalties at an 84.4% rate, which was important considering their terrible power play. Montreal, of course, had the best penalty kill rate in the playoffs. Brian Gionta is reportedly bringing the trophy for that to the "Smurfs" premiere.
I'm giving Paille a B-. He was average in the regular season, maybe even a little below average. But his contribution to winning the Cup was enough to show that he can be a valuable member of this team, and definitely an above-average fourth-liner.