Originally drafted eleventh overall in the first round of the 1989 NHL Entry Draft by the Detroit Red Wings, Sillinger played a total of 141 games for the Islanders the last three seasons. Sillinger also served as the team's assistant captain while scoring 42 goals and 45 assists for 87 points.
"To play the sport of hockey, something I've had a passion for all my life, at the professional level for the past 17 years and to be able to support my family has been a dream come true," said Sillinger. "From playing this game I have met some of my best friends and will cherish the memories we made forever."
We want to make sure that whoever makes our team really makes our team by earning it and not putting them in situations where they get preference because of their status as a first-round pick or whatever it might be. That's not going to happen. Everybody has to earn their way on our team.
— Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen on the team's prospects at development camp