The 2011-2012 season was not Daniel Paille's best as a Bruin, nor was it his worst, but it was certainly acceptable for his expected role. NHL fourth lines are pretty much expected to soak up a few minutes of ice time per game while the other players recover; based on that idea alone, all of the Bruins' fourth liners exceed expectations year after year. In that context, though, Paille's year was quietly mediocre.
Paille scored nine goals and six assists through 69 games, which, in his three year career as a Bruin, is second to his 2009-2010 scoring totals of 10-9-19 through 74 games. Let's remember, though, that in 09-10, the Bruins were falling apart at the seams with a variety of injuries, and Paille saw time on even the first line; his TOI of 863.58 minutes was sixth among forwards. Last year, in 10-11, Paille only played in 43 games due to his own injuries. This season, Paille's total TOI was 690.75 minutes, placing him 10th among all Bruins forwards - solidly on the fourth line.
Paille scored 19 points in 863 minutes in his best year, and played only 79% of that amount of time this year, which projects exactly out to the amount of points he DID score - 15. He played 92 minutes of shorthanded time, as well, and had two shorthanded goals in the month of December.
With only nine games lost due to injury - a destroyed face after getting hit in the nose with a puck that required facial surgery, a mild concussion, and an arm injury, Paille was surprised in March when Claude Julien chose him as the odd man out on the roster for several games, healthy scratched in the press box when Rich Peverley returned from a knee injury. He was boxed in favor of Jordan Caron, who ended up playing well with Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell, Paille's usual linemates, with only six games to go in the season.
The verdict - despite being an incredibly useful cog in the fourth line, the first new roster player to prove he can play defense and score 10+ goals a season will likely outplay Paille as Caron did. Paille is a good player, but he's replaceable if, going forward, he plays the same role he did this year.
Grade: C+. Mediocre is the name of the game.