Cole Sillinger Notches First NHL Point In His NHL Debut

By Jacob Nitzberg on October 15, 2021 at 11:47 am
Oct 14, 2021; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets center Cole Sillinger (34) skates against the Arizona Coyotes in the third period at Nationwide Arena.
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Like father, like son.

Mike Sillinger last played for the Blue Jackets on April 6th, 2003. 

6,766 days later, his 18-year-old son Cole made his Blue Jackets debut. He also started the game and won the opening faceoff.

"Off the draw, it took a while for that puck to drop," said Sillinger. "Domi gave the opposing guy a little shove. I got it to Jenner and he snapped it was good to win the first-ever NHL faceoff."

Not only did the younger Sillinger play well, but he also earned his first NHL point with the primary assist on Max Domi's goal in the third period. The Blue Jackets won 8-2, and Sillinger's strong play was a driving force. In 13:37 of ice time, Sillinger tallied an assist, three shots on goal, two hits, and a block. He saw 58 seconds of time on the power play, and 19 seconds on the penalty kill. Most impressively, he won four out of the five faceoffs that he took. 

"I think it was (Andrew) Peeke that rimmed it up and then Domi made a great play on the wall there," said Sillinger as he described his assist. "I was just lucky enough to hit it out of the air and then it was a footrace, and the whole way down I heard Domi say 'Silly, behind you, behind you.' I just tried to take body position and tap the puck behind my legs, and he was right there, and he's gonna score that shot. It was a great shot."

Sillinger was the Blue Jackets' "middle" first-round pick at 12th overall, as he was sandwiched in between Kent Johnson (5th overall) and Corson Ceulemans (25th). Johnson and Ceulemans are playing at Michigan and Wisconsin, respectively, but Sillinger is already making a name for himself at the NHL level. 

"It took me a couple of shifts for (me) to realize I was playing my first game in the NHL, but as the game got on, I got more comfortable," said Sillinger.

"(It was) everything I expected, but even more. The guys were very great, very supportive of me. Just giving me a tap on the butt and (telling me to) just go out there and enjoy it...I'm just going to try to take it all in tonight."

You can tell how much head coach Brad Larsen trusts Sillinger to play center in the NHL by who his linemates were. Last night, Sillinger centered Domi and the captain, Boone Jenner. Both Jenner and Domi have extensive experience playing center in the NHL, but Larsen elected to put Sillinger in the middle of the ice. His decision didn't disappoint as the trio tallied 2-3-5.

"I feel like (our line is) clicking, and I feel like that starts in practice," said Sillinger. "We're building chemistry in practice. Whether it's 3-on-2's or any kind of line drill, I feel like we're really executing and you see that it's translating to the ice a little bit. Hopefully, we can keep building off of what we've already set and keep getting more comfortable with playing with one another."