March 17, 2021

Prospect Spotlight: Cole Sillinger

Prospect Spotlight is a feature highlighting NHL Draft eligibles and giving a peek into what makes them an intriguing prospect ahead of the 2021 NHL Draft. This edition features Medicine Hat Tigers and Sioux Falls Stampede centerman, Cole Sillinger.

  • Date of Birth: May 16, 2003
  • Position: C
  • Team: Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL) & Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)
  • Height: Six-foot-zero
  • Weight: 187 pounds
  • Shoots: L

Son of longtime NHL veteran Mike Sillinger

Sillinger’s hockey bloodlines run deep. His father Mike Sillinger played for 12 different NHL teams, and both of his brothers, Owen and Lukas, play NCAA hockey at Bemidji State University. Cole, though, is headed for a different route — not unlike the one his father took. Mike was the eleventh-overall pick in 1989, and while Cole will likely also be a first-round pick, it remains to be seen whether or not he’ll be drafted any higher. 

Playing in the USHL, won’t return to WHL

Sillinger decided to join the Sioux Falls Stampede in the USHL due to the delay in the WHL season and has taken the league by storm. Sillinger currently has 28 points in 18 games this season, and his points-per-game is good enough for fourth in the entire league. Though many expected Sillinger to return to the Medicine Hat Tigers when the WHL began its season, Sillinger made the decision to remain in Sioux Falls to play out the rest of his draft season, at least until the USHL season ends. 

More than just a pure goal scorer

Sillinger is known for his lethal release and heavy shot, but he can contribute on the ice in other ways. He’s quite an adept passer as well and often very active in transition play. He has many different shots in his arsenal and a large part of what makes him such an effective goal scorer is the deceptive nature of his offensive game. Sillinger adapts quickly to changing plays in the offensive zone and it’s not immediately obvious if he’s looking to shoot or pass. While doesn’t always make the best choices, especially in his own end (and if he’s playing shorthanded), and his skating ability still poses some questions, but he does possess enough tools to be a capable contributor at the NHL level. 

What the experts say

“Sillinger is the most dangerous of light switches. He is either up and dangerous or down and asleep. This mostly has to do with his acceleration and agility… Simply put, when Silinger has speed and the puck, he’s lethal. When he is standing still, pro players at higher levels will take advantage of that. I still can imagine him being a legit PP threat and hard nosed battler but others in his mold have gone anywhere from 20-45 in NHL drafts before so… who knows.” – FCHockey scout Joel Henderson

“Sillinger was notable right out of the gate for the Stampede but gave me mixed emotions as I digested his game… I have no doubt Sillinger will be a menace offensively for as long as he is in the league, but what I will be looking for is how he works on his game away from the puck where engagement and details to your approach is the difference between a producer and a fringe roster player. He figures in to be an offensive contributor if he figures it out.” – FCHockey scout Justin Froese

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