Columbus Blue Jackets 2023-2024 Player Review: Cole Sillinger

After suffering a sophomore slump in 2022-2023, Cole Sillinger bounced back this past season and showed how good of a player he can be. His steady play has all but solidified him as a core piece of this franchise.
Carolina Hurricanes v Columbus Blue Jackets
Carolina Hurricanes v Columbus Blue Jackets / Jason Mowry/GettyImages

Back in 2021-2022, Cole Sillinger broke into the NHL as an 18 year old rookie. He quickly showed the hockey world why he was selected 12th overall in the prior draft.

His energy, speed, skill, and hockey sense helped him find success in his rookie year. In 2022-2023, the 5th line was looking for Sillinger to take the next step and become an established top 6 center.

Unfortunately, Sillinger suffered the sophomore slump and regressed. He was eventually sent down to Cleveland to play top line minutes.

The biggest goal for Sillinger in 2023-2024 was to regain his rookie form. He surely did that. Sillinger nearly replicated his point total from his rookie year (31 points in 2021-2022, 32 points in 2023-2024).

More than that, Sillinger looked like a he had grown and matured. He played a better well-rounded game. His plus/minus improved from -22 (2021-2022) to -23 (2022-2023) to -4 (2023-2024).

That shows that he is getting better defensively, which is much needed on this team. He looked confident in all situations looked like the player that the Blue Jackets drafted back in 2021.

Based on his play in his first three seasons, Sillinger looks like he could be a third line center. While the team drafted him to be in the top-six (ideally the second line center), he seems to flourish in the third line role.

Could he continue to improve and develop into a top-six player? Absolutely. He is still young and still has upside. But just based on what we have seen in his first three years with the team, the third line seems to be a good spot for Sillinger going forward.

Sillinger will be a restricted free agent this summer and will definitely be signed by the Blue Jackets. He is an up-and-coming youngster and will be a part of the CBJ young core for years to come.

Plus, he is a center, which makes him even more valuable. It’s possible that he gets a long-term contract that keeps him in union blue for years.

But, it also wouldn’t surprise me if the new general manager gives him a short 2-3 year deal to see what his ceiling is before signing him to a longer deal. This will ultimately be up to the new general manager.

Cole Sillinger 2023-2024 Season Grade:. Cole Sillinger 2023-2024 Season Grade:. B. Final season stats: 77 games played, 13 goals, 19 assists, 32 points, 46 PIM, -4, 157 shots on goal.

Sillinger bounced back from his sophomore slump and took strides this season. We think he has yet to reach his ceiling in the league but is making progress towards his potential. He gets a B for his development. He doesn’t get anything higher than that because he still has room for improvement.