Not only has Cole Sillinger shown he can be an NHL player right away, but by the third period of last night’s game he was centering a line with Patrik Laine and Jakub Voracek. It shouldn’t surprise anyone then when the young forward confirmed to reporters including Brian Hedger of the Columbus Dispatch after the game that he will not be sent back to junior this season. One more game and Sillinger will ensure his entry-level contract kicks in this season, burning the first year and avoiding any slide.
After a three-point night that resulted in a Blue Jackets win, Sillinger has burst onto the NHL scene just a few months after being the 12th overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft. The 18-year-old center has five points through nine games and was rewarded with more than 16 minutes of ice time last night. He was also out there with Voracek when Jake Bean recorded the game-winner in overtime, another sign of the trust that Sillinger has received from the coaching staff in the early going. With his contract starting this season, he’ll be scheduled for restricted free agency in the summer of 2024.
- Mattias Norlinder has been assigned to the Laval Rocket on a conditioning stint, as he continues to recover from an injury suffered in training camp. The young defenseman was actually loaned to the SHL earlier in the summer and played one game for Frolunda, but then came to play in the preseason for Montreal. As Arpon Basu of The Athletic points out, this is a long-term injury loan and Norlinder has a European Assignment Clause in his contract, meaning he can only play three games for the Rocket before needing to be added to the Canadiens roster or sent back to Sweden. Another year of development overseas still seems the most likely, unless the Montreal front office believes he can handle NHL minutes right away.
- The schedule for the IIHF World Junior Championship has been released, with December 26th back as the kickoff date this year. Canada will battle the Czech Republic, while the U.S. will take on Slovakia on day one. The two North American nations find themselves in different groups this time around, meaning a rematch of the 2021 Canada-U.S. gold medal game won’t happen in the preliminary round.