Isles get their man, ink Sillinger to three-year deal
Sillinger agreed to terms with the Islanders late Saturday night, joining his 12th NHL team. The center, known more for his defensive skills, scored 32 goals last season between St. Louis and Nashville.
He will earn $2.1 million next season, $2.2 million in 2007-08 and $2.3 million in 2008-09.
"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," new Islanders general manager Neil Smith said. "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."
Sillinger also had 31 assists in 79 games last season. He was part a salary purge with the Blues, who significantly cut payroll in an effort to facilitate the sale of the team. That purchase, by a group led by former Madison Square Garden president Dave Checketts, was completed last week.
It is not the first time Smith has acquired the 35-year-old forward. While part of the Detroit Red Wings front office, Smith selected Sillinger in the first round of the 1989 draft.
"As a free agent, you want to go to a good, young team and the team that wants you the most," Sillinger said from Regina, Saskatchewan. "I appreciate the faith that Neil has placed in me and I'm really looking forward to playing for [coach] Ted Nolan."
Sillinger also has played for Detroit, Anaheim, Vancouver, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Florida, Ottawa, Columbus and Phoenix. With a vigorous workout program, Sillinger believes he has at least three strong seasons left.
"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 has 198 goals and 263 assists in 908 NHL games over 15 seasons. He had two goals and an assist in five playoff games with Nashville this year.
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