When it rains, it pours.
As tiresome as the above idiom may be, you have to admit: it has become common place because it contains at least a nugget of truth. Even if bad things really don’t get delivered in clusters, the human mind tends to dwell on the negative if given the chance, so when something bad happens – say, watching your favorite NHL team miss the playoffs for the third consecutive year – you start to hone in on the more disappointing aspects of the world around you.
Case in point: the playoff success of Daniel Paille. Buffalo Sabres fans look at how well he is doing with the Bruins (4 goals, 4 assists, solid defensive play, and the chance to win a second Stanley Cup) and pine for what-could-have been. Even our own Tim Redinger lamented that Paille’s trade lends credence to the argument that “ Darcy Regier makes trades sometimes that cost the Buffalo Sabres.”
But is this really the case? Did trading Paille cost the Buffalo Sabres much of anything, aside from the knee-jerk reactions fans are having to see Paille on hockey’s biggest stage?
For starters, Paille’s numbers while in Buffalo were not overly impressive: his best year produced 35 points in 77 games, but his production declined to 27 points the next season and he posted a +/- of zero that year (stats courtesy of Yahoo Sports). He was mostly a third-line player who could go long stretches of time without a point, and when the Sabres resigned Jason Pominville and Ryan Miller to hefty contracts in the summer of 2009, they needed to clear some cap space. A player like Paille was an obvious choice, so off he went.
Did Paille’s career explode while in Boston? Frankly, no. His best season, points-wise? 19 points, with a -4 rating. And 8 points in this year’s playoffs? Thirty-eight players had more than that, many of them on teams that only lasted 1-2 rounds. Paille’s contributions have been mostly defensive work on Boston’s third and fourth lines – not exactly irreplaceable material.
To me, the only complaint that can be made is that the Sabres traded ANYONE to a division rival, much less the Bruins, who the Sabres should never ever ever ever ever even talk to – mature, I know!
So: was the trade of Daniel Paille to the Boston Bruins really a mistake? Be honest!