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2021 CBJ Top 25 Under 25: Cole Sillinger is a pure goal scorer who plays a position of need

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The son of former Blue Jacket, Mike Sillinger, could make his NHL debut sooner rather than later.

2021 NHL Draft - Round One Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Thanks to everyone who voted for this year’s Top 25 Under 25 ranking. We had 102 submissions from Columbus Blue Jackets fans. We’ll be counting down the 25 highest voted players over the next five weeks. Up next: Cole Sillinger

#9 Cole Sillinger

Voting

9th out of 38 eligible players
Writer Rank: 10th
Reader Rank: 10th
Highest placement: 3rd (2 votes)
Most common placement: 7th (10 votes)
2019 rank: New

Biography

Birthdate: May 16, 2003
Birthplace: Columbus, Ohio
Height: 6’0”
Weight: 201 lbs
Position: C
Shoots: Left
Acquired: Drafted by the Blue Jackets in Round 1 (12th overall) of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft

2020-21 Season Recap

After an eye-opening rookie season with the Medicine Hat Tigers, Cole Sillinger spent last season with the Sioux Falls Stampede of the USHL due to the pandemic wiping out most of the WHL season. Cole was far and away the best player on his team, putting up 46 points in only 31 games while posting a 24/22/46 stat line. Cole led his team in scoring by 9 points, despite having played in 20 fewer games than most of his teammates. Sillinger was a man amongst boys and looks to be ready to take the next step in his development.

Sillinger (along with fellow 2021 first round pick Kent Johnson) put on a show in the Team Canada World Juniors training camp scrimmage. Cole showed off his ability to find the back of the net, potting four goals in the high-scoring affair. Look for Cole to possibly play a large role next winter for the Canadian team.

2021-22 Season Outlook

Because Sillinger was drafted out of the USHL—and has since signed his entry-level deal with the Blue Jackets—all options are on the table for him in the 2021-22 season. He is not bound by the terms of the NHL-CHL agreement that states players under 20 years old can only play in the NHL or Canadian Major Junior. Assuming Sillinger doesn’t make the team out of camp, the Blue Jackets can opt to continue his development in the AHL with the Monsters if they feel he has nothing left to prove at the junior level. At the same time, it may not hurt to have the player return to the WHL to put up huge numbers in a league that is still a step up from the USHL. It’s a great position to be in for both the club and player, but ultimately Cole will determine his own future with his performance in the prospects tournament and training camp next month.

Scouting Reports

His wrist shot release is especially potent, with a short draw, feet pointed at the net, adequate knee-bend, a hip-snap, his leg kicked back, and exploding from his chest. It’s a sight to behold. Sillinger makes the best of this shot with some stellar off of the puck instincts, an often overpowering wall game, and a penchant for driving the centre lane of the offensive zone. -EliteProspects 2021 NHL Draft Guide

“With one of the best shots in the draft, Sillinger is a threat to score on every shift he steps on the ice. His ability to get his shot off regardless of the puck position is impressive, whether it’s firing it from in his feet or extended out to the side, he’s dangerous. As a playmaker, he has the talent to make any pass but often refrains from making the pass to try and create his own shot. He has the skill to make the passes, there is little doubt about that. Willingness to use his teammates will go a long way to making him more dangerous all over the ice. He has some rounding out to do as a player in terms of his defensive game but the talent is there. He has improved his skating since last season, staying agile on his feet more consistently and using his edges more effectively. There is still room to grow in that regard but the improvement is a welcome sight. If he can up the effort off the puck, he has a chance to be one of the best players in the class.” Tony Ferrari, Dobberprospects