Random NHL Records: Most teams played for

Mike Sillinger was traded nine times in his 17-year career.

I recently kicked off a new feature called “Random NHL Records” where I talk about random records around the NHL. Smart title, I know.

Mark Arcobello’s recent goal for the Edmonton Oilers Nashville Predators Pittsburgh Penguins Arizona Coyotes highlights the life of an NHL journeyman. In fact, he’s in elite journeyman territory now, and yes, that is a thing.

It’s one thing to ping around to four different NHL teams in a single season. It’s another to get points on all four of them, especially considering the short amount of time he spent with each team. Arcobello’s stint with Nashville was just four games long and his goal with Arizona came in his Coyotes debut.

Seeing Arcobello’s accomplishment this week reminded me of the NHL’s ultimate journeyman: Mike Sillinger holds the NHL record for most teams played with.

Sillinger’s career began with lots of promise, getting drafted 11th overall by the Detroit Red Wings in 1989. For whatever reason, Sillinger never stayed anywhere for too long. Here is a breakdown of his career:

  • 129 Games Played with the Detroit Red Wings before getting traded to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.
  • 77 Games Played with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim before getting traded to the Vancouver Canucks.
  • 138 Games Played with the Vancouver Canucks before getting traded to the Philadelphia Flyers.
  • 52 Games Played with the Philadelphia Flyers before getting traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
  • 121 Games Played with the Tampa Bay Lightning before getting traded to the Florida Panthers.
  • 68 Games Played with the Florida Panthers before getting traded to the Ottawa Senators.
  • 13 Games Played with the Ottawa Senators before signing with the Columbus Blue Jackets as a free agent.
  • 155 Games Played with the Columbus Blue Jackets before being traded to the Dallas Stars.
  • 0 Games Played (we’ll get to that) with the Dallas Stars before being traded to the Phoenix Coyotes.
  • 60 Games Played with the Phoenix Coyotes before being traded to the St. Louis Blues.
  • 64 Games Played with the St. Louis Blues before being traded to the Nashville Predators.
  • 31 Games Played with the Nashville Predators before signing with the New York Islanders as a free agent.
  • 141 Games Played with the New York Islanders before missing most of the 2008-09 season due to a hip injury and finally announcing his retirement.

Simply put, Mike Sillinger should have his own line of luggage.

The “We’ll get to that” regarding Mike Sillinger’s tenure in Dallas, by the way, is that on the day the Stars acquired Sillinger, they flipped him to Phoenix. Most players talk about the hurricane of being traded. Imagine being traded twice in one day. Fun times.

It’s easy to look at so-called journeymen as expendable or a dime-a-dozen. That may often be true. In the case of Mike Sillinger? No way. Only 295 skaters have ever played in 1,000 or more NHL games and Sillinger is one of them.

Sillinger played in 1,049 games and if it weren’t for injuries he would have played in many more. For example, he played just seven games in his final season before his hip forced him to call it quits. His career spanned from the 1990-91 season all the way to 2008-09. Most hockey players grow up dreaming of playing well enough for just one NHL team to want them. Sillinger played for 12.

On top of owning the NHL record for most teams played with, Sillinger also co-owns the NHL record for most times traded (9) along with former NHL player Brent Ashton. Brent is the father of now-former Toronto Maple Leafs forward Carter Ashton.

Mark Arcobello has had a topsy-turvy season so far. It’s possible he could even change teams again before the trade deadline comes! Arcobello still has a few NHL jerseys to add to his collection before he’s in Mike Sillinger territory, though.

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