The Columbus Blue Jackets are playing for the draft lottery these days, but have found an opportunity for one of their young talents. Cole Sillinger has been loaned to the Cleveland Monsters of the AHL to compete in a Calder Cup chase. Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen explains:
This is a great opportunity for Cole to join the Monsters as they continue to push for a berth in the Calder Cup Playoffs. Taking on additional responsibilities and playing games with playoff implications, and hopefully games in the playoffs, is hugely important to the development of a young player like Cole.
Zach Werenski was in a similar position a few years ago and the experience helped him individually and from a team perspective as it resulted in a Calder Cup championship.
This appears to have been the team’s plan for some time. At the trade deadline, the team “papered” him to the minor leagues, sending him down and recalling him on the same day. That made him eligible for the AHL playoffs, despite never actually leaving the NHL club at that point.
In fact, Sillinger has never played in the AHL at all. The 19-year-old forward stepped directly into the NHL after being selected 12th overall in 2021, and has played for the Blue Jackets ever since. While his rookie season went exceptionally well, the young center has just three goals and 11 points in 64 games this year, showing the same sophomore slump many top prospects experience.
Overdue in the opinion of many a CBJ fan. Would’ve helped both Sillinger and Cleveland long ago. If Cleveland fails to make the playoffs, this will be a lose-lose.