With the penalty-kill sinking, the Rangers have turned to veteran left wing Daniel Paille, who has joined the team for the weekend road trip to Carolina and Ottawa.
Paille, 31, who was released from his contract with the Chicago Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate, the Rockford Ice Hogs, in order to be signed by the Blueshirts, was 6-7-13 in 71 games last year with the Bruins. He played in Boston for six seasons and was part of the 2011 Stanley Cup championship team. Paille has played in 570 NHL games, with the Bruins and Sabres, going 85-87-172.
“Pretty simple: we lost a couple players, [Jarret] Stoll and traded [Emerson] Etem, so we brought him in for depth and a specific role,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “He played fourth line and penalty kill in Boston for quite some time, and our penalty-killing could use some help.”
The Rangers are ranked 25th in the NHL in goals allowed while shorthanded, at 78.9 percent.
Since Stoll was waived on Dec. 13, opponents have scored at an alarmingly high 31.9 percent of the time on the power play.
“I’ve always used three duos up front on the penalty-kill,” Vigneault said after practice at the Madison Square Garden training center in Greenburgh. “We’ve developed Quickie [Jesper Fast] and we’re using Rick Nash, and this year, we’re trying to develop Oscar Lindberg and Viktor Stalberg, so I thought we were a little bit short in that area. Now we’ve got a guy who’s got established presence and knowledge in penalty-killing. He’s a real good skater, competes hard; we’ve got room for that.”
Paille’s two-way contract pays him $575,000 in the NHL and $100,000 in the AHL.
“It’s something I’ve been fighting for all year, and believing in that hope that I could get back [to the NHL],” Paille told the team’s website.
Defenseman Dan Girardi and Paille, who is 6-1 and 200 pounds, grew up in Welland, Ontario, and played with each other through their early teens, then again for a year with the Guelph Storm (OHL) and have remained friends.
“I talked to him and he’s excited that the Rangers are giving him a shot,” Girardi said. “He has a chance to prove himself here. I think he has a lot to bring to the team; he’s won a Stanley Cup in Boston and had another long run in the Finals , and a good team guy.”
Notes & quotes: Derick Brassard has recovered from the flu and practiced . . . Chris Kreider, who woke up with neck spasms, did not practice but received treatment. He skated on his own afterward and his availability will be determined on Friday. With Paille, the Rangers are carrying 14 forwards, and could make a move Friday, perhaps returning Jayson Megna, who has played five games since his call-up, to Hartford.