A bit of news tonight from the Chicago Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate in Rockford, as they team officially signed former Boston Bruin Daniel Paille to a contract. Paille was on a professional tryout with the team, which could have lasted 25 games. A forward, Paille recorded 1 assist in 13 games with the Rockford IceHogs early in the season.
Paille provides a nice bit of forward depth at the minor-league level for the Blackhawks, who have been shifting youngsters up and down through their first 21 games. Paille is 31 years old, and 12 of the 13 active Blackhawks forwards are younger than that (with only Marian Hossa being older). If the Blackhawks need a guy who’s been to the highest level of the NHL at some point later in the season, Paille would be the guy.
Paille spent 10 seasons between the Buffalo Sabres and Boston Bruins, during which he tallied 85 goals and 87 assists in the regular season. Among those are 11 shorthanded goals, as he spent a fair amount of time on the penalty kill in his previous NHL seasons. During Stanley Cup playoff action, Paille has participated in 75 games and notched 9 goals and 10 assists. He was part of the Cup-winning Bruins in 2011, too.
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Paille would be the typical third- or fourth-liner for the Blackhawks to call up, especially in the case of injuries or other young guys not quite working out. It seems unlikely that he’d stay in Rockford the entire time when he has that much experience to offer at a higher level. The terms of Paille’s contract haven’t yet been released, but his cap hit probably wouldn’t be too serve in the instance he’s called up to the Blackhawks.
The IceHogs are off to a better start than their major-league counterparts in Chicago. After starting the season 1-3-0-0 (the third column is for overtime losses, and the fourth is for shootout setbacks), the IceHogs have improved to 10-4-1-2 despite losing guys like Tanner Kero and Marko Dano to the Blackhawks full-time. Bryan Bickell, Kyle Cumiskey and others who have seen NHL time are toiling away with the IceHogs right now, with Bickell faring well. In just seven games with the IceHogs, Bickell has four goals and four assists, finding his scoring stroke after a demotion.
Paille probably won’t be the first guy called up when it’s time for someone else is in line for a promotion, but he could be a key guy up for promotion down the line. This minor-league contract for Paille is a solid move.