The New York Rangers have signed veteran forward Daniel Paille to a prorated contract for the remainder of the season, the team announced Thursday. The contract is a two-way deal, paying out $575,000 in the NHL and $100,000 in the AHL, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.
“I can’t describe how much excitement I have in me,” Paille said after signing the contract. “It’s really something special for me to have the opportunity to play here; and it’s a comfortable spot, too, for me to prove myself again.”
He may find it to be a little extra comfortable because he grew up playing youth hockey with Rangers alternate captain Dan Girardi.
“I think he brings a lot to the team. He’s a great skater, a good PK guy, and obviously he’s won a Stanley Cup before. He’s a great guy off the ice and a real good team guy,” Girardi said following Thursday’s practice.
Paille, who took a PTO with the Chicago Blackhawks during training camp, has spent the entire season with the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL after he wasn’t given a NHL contract out of camp.
The 31-year-old hasn’t been an offensive dynamo in the AHL, tallying just one goal and four points through 31 games for Rockford. However, coach Alain Vigneault didn’t mince words about why the Blueshirts signed Paille and it wasn’t for his offensive prowess.
“He’s a pretty good penalty killer,” Vigneault said to the press on Thursday. He noted that they’re “trying to develop” Oscar Lindberg and Viktor Stalberg for the penalty kill, but Lindberg is a rookie and Stalberg had never played much penalty kill previously. He said Paille brings “an established presence and knowledge of penalty killing.”
"We got (Paille) for a particular role–he was an excellent fourth line penalty killer in Boston, & our PK needs some help"-AV #NYR
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) January 21, 2016
Paille is flying to North Carolina to join the team, but it’s not clear yet at what point he might make his debut with the team.
Paille scored six goals and 13 points through 71 games with the Boston Bruins last year.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.