The Oilers filled the void of Bob Mancini with Mike Sillinger, who spent 17 years in the NHL. “Suitcase” Sillinger, a nickname he earned after playing for 12 different NHL teams, will start immediately.
Here is a quote from the Oilers press release.
“We are very excited to have Mike fill such an important role with us,” said Tambellini. “We know his experience of 1,000-plus NHL games will benefit our younger players and the development of their careers.”
As a member of the Oilers Hockey Management Team, Sillinger will work closely with all Oiler draft picks in the junior, college and European ranks. He will also be working with Edmonton’s prospects in the AHL and ECHL.
Sillinger has seen action with 12 NHL clubs, most recently suiting up for the New York Islanders last year. Originally drafted 11th overall in 1990 by the Detroit Red Wings, Sillinger began his NHL career in Detroit before continuing on to play for the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Vancouver Canucks, Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers, Ottawa Senators, Columbus Blue Jackets, Phoenix Coyotes, St. Louis Blues, Nashville Predators and New York Islanders.
Mancini returned to the Oilers as Development Coach in 2007, but was let go earlier this year. He was also previously a member of Edmonton’s scouting staff for four seasons between 2000-01 and 2003-04. He left the Oilers after that to become the General Manager and head coach of the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League.
Sillinger has lots of NHL experience, and should be able to help the young kids through different transitions of their career, since he moved around so often, but this is his first venture into management so we’ll how he fares in this role. I guess this ends the ridiculous rumblings yesterday that stated Jason Smith would take this job. Smith will stay in Ottawa for at least another year.
I spoke with Robert Nilsson today after his skate at the Kinsmen Arenas and he looks like he has gained a few pounds and says he feels much stronger and in much better shape than previous seasons. He changed his off-season program and spent time working with a coach every day, rather than working out by himself.
“What I used to accomplish in two hours by myself, I would get done in 20 minutes with my coach this summer. I feel much better and certain I will make a good impression from the start of camp,” said Nilsson.
What is interesting is that as we spoke Mike Comrie strolled by and didn’t talk to the media today. When I asked Nilsson if he was concerned about a player like Comrie coming into camp he replied, “Not at all. He is a good player and we all want to win, if he helps us that is great.”
What Nilsson might not know is, that if Comrie comes in he could push Nilsson out of a job. I’d rather roll the dice with Nilsson over Comrie at this points, but we’ll see.