The Edmonton Oilers announced today that they have found their replacement for Bob Mancini: recently retired Mike "Suitcase" Sillinger will take over as Director of Player Development.
One irony: while Sillinger played for twelve different NHL teams, none of them were the Edmonton Oilers. Oilers GM Steve Tambellini had this to say of the hiring:
"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."
Sillinger spent three seasons with the Canucks during both Steve Tambellini’s and Tom Renney’s time with the organization. He also captained Canada’s entry at the 2000 IIHF World Championships – a team coached by Renney.
As might be expected of a player who has moved around so much, Sillinger’s been coached by many of the greats. Among those coaches he’s played for we find Roger Neilson, Scotty Bowman, Ron Wilson, Mike Keenan, Dave King, Barry Trotz and Ted Nolan. Few players in league history can boast about having such a varied look at NHL coaching strategies.
I'm rather unfairly biased towards coaches with experience, but as far as raw additions go, the development side of things isn't a bad place to start, and adding a man like Sillinger - who played multiple roles on multiple teams over an extended career, and was good at all of them - is almost certainly a plus. Besides, if there's one position where recent on-ice experience at the NHL level is certain to be an asset, it's in teaching prospects the skills they need to succeed in today's game.