32-goal scorer, leader and faceoff man inked to 3-year deal
Mike Sillinger, one of the game's top defensive centers and a 32-goal scorer last season, is now a member of the New York Islanders.
The Islanders signed the 35-year old Sillinger to a three-year contract late last night. The native of Regina, Saskatchewan had 32 goals, 31 assists and 63 points in 79 games last season spilt between the St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators. In five playoff games with the Predators this spring, he had two goals and an assist. In 908 NHL games, the 5-10, 200-pound Sillinger is 198-263-461.
"Mike Sillinger is one of the most respected players in the game -- strong in all zones and at faceoffs, an excellent skater and a leader," said Islanders general manager Neil Smith. "It says a lot about Mike that he excelled in the first year under the new NHL rules by scoring 32 goals and having his best offensive season. Since Saturday morning, Mike was the forward we focused on. His signing makes us a better team in so many areas of the game."
Reached at home in Regina this morning, Sillinger was ecstatic about coming to Long Island. After all, in last season's Blues media guide, he listed Bryan Trottier as his idol.
"Neil Smith drafted me in Detroit and Bryan Trottier was my favorite player growing up, so this is perfect," said Sillinger. "As a free agent, you want to go to a good, young team and the team that wants you the most. I appreciate the faith that Neil has placed in me and I'm really looking forward to playing for Ted Nolan. I'm very proud to be joining the Islanders."
At 35 and coming off his best season, Sillinger says he has at least three good seasons left in him, and probably more.
"Personal training is part of the regimen for any player who loves the game as much as I do and wants to contribute for a long time," he said. "I'm a part shareholder in a gym here in Regina. I train with a bunch of junior players. I push them and they push me. If training camp started today, I'm more than ready to go."
Sillinger won a gold medal with Team Canada at the 1991 World Junior Championships and a Calder Cup championship with Adirondack in 1992, and was captain of Team Canada at the 2000 World Championships.