The Blue Jackets want to see what Cole Sillinger can do.
Less than a week after the 2021 first-round pick (No. 12 overall) spearheaded Columbus' unbeaten run in the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, Sillinger was handed another task on the first day of training camp.
Hey, kid. You're opening camp at center between Patrik Laine and Jake Voracek.
No big deal for the 18-year-old, right?
18-year-old rookie Cole Sillinger spent today skating with Patrik Laine and Jakub Voracek (though it is of course early and there werent many full line drills). Sillinger: Im here to make the team. I have a lot to prove and am for sure going to have to earn my spot. #CBJ— Jeff Svoboda (@JacketsInsider) September 23, 2021
Blue Jackets head coach Brad Larsen was noncommittal when discussing his center ice options at media day on Tuesday, insisting he and the coaching staff would assess all available options (including the incumbents). But, on the surface, it appears he had another name in the back of his mind and that was Sillinger's.
Sillinger has seen his stock rise in short order since joining the Blue Jackets organization in July. Son of former Blue Jackets forward Mike Sillinger, the younger Cole is eligible to play in AHL Cleveland this season–or in Columbus, should he continue at the pace he's on.
Of course, any bit of news like this must come with the appropriate disclaimer: it's the first day and first practices of training camp and there's a long road ahead. But the fact Sillinger, a rookie without a game of NHL experience, was selected to center the Blue Jackets' two most dynamic offensive players right off the bat is telling in its own way.
We'll see where this goes, but camp is off to an intriguing start in Columbus.