Cole Sillinger is Showing Signs of Breaking Out for the Blue Jackets

Seeking out bright spots for a team who has won just 19 of 59 games this season is not easy. But as of late, Cole Sillinger has given us a glimpse into a more promising future.
Feb 28, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets center Cole Sillinger (4) celebrates
Feb 28, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets center Cole Sillinger (4) celebrates / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Cole Sillinger scored goals in each of the last two Columbus Blue Jacket games. The team in its entirety has just three goals in that time.

On Wednesday night in New York, Sillinger slowed his pace and went to the vacant net-front while Ranger goalie Igor Shesterkin played the puck behind the net. He was rewarded with a second-effort goal off of a quick Damon Severson shot.

Last night, at home against Carolina; Sillinger scored off of the rush by showcasing the quick release that helped make him a first round NHL Draft Pick. Low and hard, he beat Spencer Martin clean:

For me, however, it's been his play aside from the goals that has stood out. Over the last few weeks (since the All-Star break, really), Sillinger has reverted back to the confident swagger we saw him come into the league with.

He's been a nuisance on both sides of the puck; using his body more effectively on the forecheck, breaking up plays defensively, and has even started to show improvement in the faceoff circle.

This more assertive, confident play has resulted in more time with the puck. Which, inevitably, leads to more offense.

His emergence has helped give this team a more legitimate third line option, with Pasval Vincent rolling them out regardless the situation.

Last night, it was on full display. Sillinger was especially outstanding in the second period, at one point holding onto the puck for several seconds, beating three Carolina defenders before generating a high danger shot on goal.

He didn't score on that play, but it was the kind of effort we've been waiting to see from him. The kind of play he was making in his rookie season.

I hope this is the emergence of Sillinger as this team's future second or third line center. He plays the game with a competitive tenacity that this team desperately lacks on many nights. This is the kind of spark plug that can help a team get back to its winning ways when times are tough.