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2022 Player Review: I was wrong about Cole Sillinger

The young, native center is budding in Columbus, but who does he compare to?

Columbus Blue Jackets v Washington Capitals Photo by John McCreary/NHLI via Getty Images

I joined the Cannon right before the beginning of this season, and my first article was a thought piece on why playing Cole Sillinger this season was a terrible idea. Needless to say, there’s a reason I’m not an NHL coach.

Sillinger impressed this season with his tenacious play, and rarely looked out of place for the youngest player in the NHL. Sure, his production was slow at times, but he was obviously giving it his all, and when he was producing, he looked great.

2022 Stats:

Games Played: 79
Goals: 16
Assists: 15
Points: 31
Plus/Minus: -22
PIM: 37
5v5 CF%: 47.8%
5v5 FF%: 46.6%
Zone Start %: Offense: 59.6% - Defense: 40.4%

Contract:

Cole Sillinger signed a 3-year ELC last summer, meaning he has two years left at $925K/year. He’ll be an RFA in the 2024 offseason.

High Point:

Sillinger became the second 18-year-old in Blue Jackets history to record a hat trick on March 13th versus the Vegas Golden Knights, including the game-tying and game-winning goals.

He also closed out the season on fire, earning a 5-5-10 stat line in 14 games in the month of April, fully showing the potential of the young centerman.

Low Point:

Cole struggled coming out of the All Star break, only netting a 4 goals and 2 assists in February and March; remember that three of those goals came in that hat trick game against Vegas. That means he only got three points in the other 24 games during that span.

Player Comparisons:

In my article to begin the year, I compared Sillinger to other CBJ rookies drafted in a similar position. Well, his 31 points is the the seventh-best season in CBJ history, regardless of draft position, and he tied for third with 16 goals, behind only Rick Nash and Pierre-Luc Dubois. That ain’t bad!

Expanding the sample size to all NHL rookies in the cap era, Sillinger’s comparables include established top players like Mark Schiefele (13-21-34 in 2013-14), Tyler Toffoli (12-17-29 in 2013-14), Jake Guentzel (16-17-33 in 2016-17), and Zach Parise (14-18-32 in 2005-06). That’s some exciting company! However, also in range are noted talents Magnus Paajarvi, Andrew Ebbett, Antti Miettinen, and Mr. Blue Jacket himself Devin Shore. Among which group will Cole Sillinger end up? Likely somewhere in between, but here’s to hoping it’s among the former.

Report Card:

He exceeded my expectations, so it’s hard to give him lower than a B. A bit more consistency would probably help to get him into the A-range, but I have little doubt he’ll get there in the coming years!

Poll

Grade Cole Sillinger’s 2021-22 Season

This poll is closed

  • 46%
    A
    (79 votes)
  • 49%
    B
    (83 votes)
  • 4%
    C (as in Cole)
    (7 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (0 votes)
169 votes total Vote Now