Cole Sillinger truly grew up around the game.
The son of longtime NHLer Mike Sillinger, the younger is a top prospect for the coming NHL Draft, one of just five WHL players to earn an ‘A’ grade from NHL Central Scouting. Equally adept at setting up his teammates as he is at lighting the lamp himself, Sillinger is a budding centre who offers plenty of promise.
That much was evident last season when as a rookie he finished fourth in Medicine Hat Tigers team scoring with 22 goals and 31 assists despite being limited to 48 contests. The exciting up-and-comer reflected on last season and more in the latest edition of the CHL Sunday Spotlight presented by WINMAR:
What’s it like to be recognized as a top player by Central Scouting and how are you preparing for the draft?
To be recognized as a top prospect from NHL Central Scouting is an honour and a big confidence booster for myself. I don’t think my preparation changes much with this being my draft year. Certainly there is not a lack of motivation to use this time we have been given to improve all areas and aspects of my game.
How do you evaluate your rookie season and what are your goals for the coming season?
I evaluate my rookie season really just on my overall play and dissecting my game, bringing out things I need to improve on to have more success. My goals for this upcoming season are really to just improve every day as a person and a player, and as a team to win our Alberta Division and ultimately go on and have a chance at winning the Western Hockey League and competing for a Memorial Cup.
What is your best strength as a player and how have you worked to develop this area?
I think one of my best strengths in my game is my shot and my release. I believe I developed this area by always having the motivation to try to score on our goalies in practice, by improving my overall strength in my body, and always wanting to improve and learn the different angles and release points that can throw off goalies.
What was it like growing up with a father who played in the NHL and what did you learn from him?
Growing up with my Dad playing professional hockey, I don’t really remember much because I was pretty young but with his career there were many ups and downs. I think the biggest thing that I learned from him so far is just to control the things that I can control and to always expect the unexpected.
Which NHL player do you model your game after and what aspects of his game do you see in your own?
I try to model my game after a guy like John Tavares. Some aspects that I see in his game that I see in mine are his vision and his playmaking abilities all over the ice, and also his offensive instincts and his ability to score around the net.