A bounce-back performance.
For the first time in his NHL career, Cole Sillinger was a healthy scratch. Not just once, but two games in a row. He missed Saturday's win in Detroit and Monday's loss to the Rangers in Columbus. He returned to the lineup on Tuesday against Nashville, a game the Blue Jackets lost 2-1, but he was one of the team's best players.
#CBJ Sillinger looking good tonight so far after being a healthy scratch the past two games.— Coby Maeir (@CobyMaeir) January 18, 2023
In 14:16, Sillinger registered three shots on goal, did not commit a turnover, and won 4/8 of the face-offs he took. Per moneypuck.com, Sillinger registered 0.373 expected goals at five-on-five, which ranked fourth on the team, and his 80.4% on-ice expected goals-for percentage was the best on the Blue Jackets.
"I think this is gonna serve him well," head coach Brad Larsen said regarding scratching Sillinger at Monday's morning skate. "I don't worry about him. I don't. He's got a tremendous future with this organization. This was a little bump in the road."
For Sillinger's sake and the Blue Jackets' sake, hopefully, this was the last time he's scratched. He's a 19-year-old player who is one of the pillars of the franchise's rebuild.
Tuesday night's performance was a positive sign in what has been a down year offensively for Sillinger. While he didn't register a point, he was noticeable and effective. Hockey isn't all about scoring points. Players have to be able to impact the game in other ways and Sillinger did that on Tuesday.