With the NHL's trading deadline rapidly approaching, I thought it would be interesting to check out who has played for the most NHL teams. There is one guy who stands above the rest. He's been traded an unbelievable ten times and played for an NHL record 12 different teams during his 16-year career. He was taken 11th overall by Detroit in the 1989 entry draft.
Mike Sillinger must get plenty of sleepless nights near the end of every February. Whenever a phone rings he must be thinking, where am I off to this year? Either that or he's become so accustomed to being traded that he has a suitcase packed and is ready to move at a moments notice. The 36-year-old Sillinger has played on four more NHL clubs than Gary "Suitcase" Smith and two more than anyone else.
Interestingly enough, Sillinger has picked up his play over the past month recording 12 points in his last 15 games. He makes a nice under-the-radar pick up. Sillinger receives the second most ice time among forwards and is on the Isles' top penalty-killing unit with Richard Park. He is also one of the league's better players at winning draws.
Sillinger is a key member of the Isles, who are likely going to battle for a playoff spot right up until the end of the season. For those reasons, I don't think we'll see hockey's top nomad on the move again this year, but lucky 13 is still only a phone call away. The closest active NHL players in number of NHL teams played for are Jim Dowd (nine), Randy Robitaille (eight) and Martin Rucinsky (eight, he played two games with the Oilers...10 if you count all three times with the Rangers).
For those who are curious, Sillinger has suited up for Detroit, Anaheim, Vancouver, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Florida, Ottawa, Columbus, Phoenix, St.Louis, Nashville and finally the Isles.
Another 11th overall selection (2003) who might be flying under people's radar is Jeff Carter. Tagged to be the Flyers second line centre this season, he has been overshadowed by an unexpected offensive outburst from Mike Richards. Prior to last night's game against the Rangers, Jeff Carter had scored 16 points in his last 17 games. During that period he was a healthy plus-7 and had 63 shots on goal (3.7 per game). Mike Richards over the same period recorded 17 points in 17 games, including five multi-point efforts.
Meanwhile, the Flyers "No.1" centre, Daniel Briere has been only slightly less prolific, scoring 14 points in those same 17 games and recording a not so hot minus-5 rating. Simon Gagne's numbers since his return have been pretty much as expected with eight points in nine games.
On the lighter side, did you know that in 2004-05 Jeff Carter won the OHL's Most Gentlemanly Player and Canadian Major Junior Sportsmanlike Player of the Year awards? This year, if Carter continues to rack up penalties at his current pace, he will end up with 72 penalty minutes, his highest total ever, including his junior career. Chalk it up to the Flyers influence. It must be company policy in Philadelphia that no player can ever win the Lady Byng trophy. I believe all Flyers player contracts include a mandatory trade clause if they are even nominated for the award.
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