Mike Sillinger: The man with no home
Many fans lament that in pro sports, players shift teams too often. More lenient free agency has dropped the years players skate for the same clubs in the NHL, making players who play their entire careers with one franchise (like Joe Sakic and Martin Brodeur will) a rarity.
Case in point, Mike Sillinger, who was dealt from the St. Louis Blues to the Nashville Predators late last night.
The move makes Mr. Sillinger the new holder of an odd record: The player who has played for the most different teams. When he steps on the ice for the Predators on Wednesday, Sillinger will be wearing his 11th different jersey. That's a lot of moving.
Here's his career path, in a nutshell: Detroit ► Anaheim ► Vancouver ► Philadelphia ► Tampa Bay ► Florida ► Ottawa ► Columbus ► Phoenix ► St. Louis ► Nashville
That's almost a tour of Bettman's expansion project, no?
The thing is, most players who are dealt so often are borderline NHLers, players who don't really contribute much beyond playing a third-line role. In Sillinger's case, and more so this year than in the past, he's been a pretty good player. Heck, this year he's been fantastic, and is sitting in 22nd in league scoring with 22 goals in 48 games — a 38-goal pace. Barring a broken leg in the near future, he'll surpass his career high of 23 goals at age 34.
OK, enough about that. I can think of three players who played with 10 different teams — Sillinger being one of them. Michel Petit and J.J. Daigneault both had whirlwind trips around the league, but I'm curious if my readers know any other members of this group. I trust they do.
As for Sillinger, not only are the Predators getting a great player, but also a great guy. I remember when Sillinger scored a hat trick in the 2004 playoffs, and it was revealed that, after 14 seasons and more than 800 games, it was his first one.
"My little boys told me they wanted me to score a hat trick and my wife laughed,'' Sillinger said. "She goes, 'If he ever gets a hat trick we'll fill the house with balloons.'Good stuff. It should be noted that his family was in Phoenix at the time while he was with the Blues — the result of another late-season deal.
"We'll be filling the house with balloons when I get back and see them in Phoenix and hopefully it won't be for a while."
Good luck in Nashville, Mike. Until you're a free agent in the off-season, that is.