Daniel Pallie was picked up mid-season by the New York Rangers to add some depth to the club, and help their dreadful penalty-kill. After 10 games, he’s seen his game improve and the veteran forward seems to be finding some chemistry with his line-mates, Dominic Moore, and Tanner Glass. Pallie has been getting into every game with Rick Nash still recovering from a bone bruise, but there’s a good chance that he stays in the line-up when Nash is ready to return, because he does bring a good physical game, veteran decision-making, and excellent speed to the table.
One thing that the Rangers always get when they put Pallie in the line-up is a veteran winger who can adapt and make things happen on the defensive side of the puck. A key reason for adding Paille was the hope that he could help the Rangers’ penalty kill and thus far he’s done that. At the moment, the only two Rangers’ forwards who average more minutes per game while short-handed are Moore and Jesper Fast. The unit overall has been much better in terms of structure in recent games, and a big part of that is having forwards who don’t panic and get running around the zone. One kill that displayed this was the recent contest against the Flyers where Philadelphia had a four-minute power-play, on a Mats Zuccarello high-stick. Even though Philadelphia had great zone time, they were unable to draw out the Rangers and open up quality passing lanes. The kill seemed to help the Rangers keep the momentum.
Led by Moore and Paille, that’s a terrific 4-minute kill for the Rangers.
— Sean Hartnett (@HartnettHockey) February 15, 2016
A key part of being a depth player, is being able to make quick decisions even when things get chaotic. One of the best examples was this play against the New Jersey Devils, where he had his stick broken, but rather than retreating, and fore-fitting a scoring chance, he makes a gutsy play to throw a body check to eliminate the puck carrier. It’s a hard play, because if the on coming opponent makes a little move, he’s gone, but Pallie has the confidence to commit to the play, and he knocks the opponent over allowing his team to re-group.
The Role Player
Having a veteran in the line-up who knows his role can be a key to success. Prior to the signing of Pallie, the Rangers were calling up Jayson Megna whenever they needed to enter a man into the roster. Megna’s been good this year, but at this point, he’s the kind of player who will benefit from being in good offensive situations, not slotting in on the bottom line. That’s where Paille comes in; the Rangers know that he’s a guy who will bring a consistent game to the club, and they don’t have to worry about getting him ice-time, to develop him, he simply is what he is.
Another great thing about the forward is that he seems to just fit right in with the club; for example, Emerson Etem always looked a bit lost on the ice, but Paille, who’s been around the league a bit, has slipped in seamlessly. He told Jim Cerny of Blue Shirts United about fitting in with the team, “It’s just been so easy, I don’t think there could have been a better team to come too.
The Rangers tried to fill this role over the off-season when they signed Jarret Stoll, who was a veteran depth forward. Stoll didn’t work out, and was placed on waivers. The club is now trying again with the addition of Paille, and thus far it looks to be a better fit. The forward doesn’t have any points yet, but you can see how he makes so many key plays, just by using his speed, and body. I would say that the Rangers’ fourth-line looks the best it has this season and that has something to do with adding him.
When Nash returns I expect to see Paille rotate with Glass depending on the opponent.
I graduated from Brooklyn College with a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism. Shortly after, I began writing for the Full Tilt Hockey Network, where I still contribute, covering a broad range of topics across the NHL.
I have been contributing to The Hockey Writers since February of this year focusing on the New York Rangers. My articles tend to focus on analysis of players, and possible directions that the organization could go.