Sislo signs with N.Y. Islanders
It’s been quite a summer for Superior native Mike Sislo.
The 30-year-old forward was traded from the Arizona Coyotes to the Buffalo Sabres on June 14. Then on Monday, he signed a one-year, two-way (NHL/AHL) contract with the New York Islanders.
“Getting traded was definitely a surprise, but it was kind of a paper move to clear up some roster spots,” Sislo said. “A team can only carry so many players with NHL experience, so it wasn’t too serious of a trade because I knew I was going to be a free agent on July 1.”
Once he became a free agent, Sislo’s agent began looking for teams interested in him and when he heard the Islanders were one of those teams, it didn’t take long to make his decision on who he wanted to play for.
“My agent got in contact with multiple teams to see what was out there and who was interested,” Sislo said. “There were a handful of teams interested, but once I knew the Islanders were one of them, it seemed like an opportunity I really wanted to pursue.
“The management there is people I’m familiar with and played for in the past, so knowing that they were interested in me, was very exciting.”
Sislo scored 47 points (23 goals, 24 assists) in 68 games last season with the Tucson Roadrunners of the American Hockey League. He then added two points (one goal, one assist) in nine Calder Cup Playoff games.
In 444 career AHL games with the Albany Devils, Toronto Marlies, San Antonio Rampage and Tucson, Sislo has 271 points (129 goals, 142 assists). He's added 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 27 career Calder Cup Playoff Games.
“Last season went well,” Sislo said. “The team did well and I had a good year individually so it was a lot of fun and a good experience.
“We lost out in the playoffs, but we had a good run and I look forward to doing the same this coming year,” he said.
Sislo represented Albany in the 2015-16 All-Star Game and was named to the 2015-16 AHL Second All-Star Team after posting a career-high 53 points (27 goals, 26 assists).
Sislo made his NHL debut with the New Jersey Devils in 2013-14 and appeared in a career-high 18 NHL games with New Jersey in 2015-16. In 42 career NHL games, he recorded five points (three goals, two assists).
With the Islander camp set to begin in mid-September, Sislo is spending the summer in the Twin Ports working out with other hockey players at the University of Minnesota Duluth.
“I approach every season pretty similar,” Sislo said. “I try to put my best foot forward, try to impress the coaching staff and the management and just leave a good impression.
“Whether I can make the team out of camp or be in Bridgeport (Conn.) and try to work my way up from there, you never know. I’m just going to do my best.”
The Islanders’ AHL team is the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Prior to his professional career, Sislo played four seasons at the University of New Hampshire, serving as captain during his senior year in 2010-11. Before attending college, he played two seasons with the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League and prior to that, he helped lead the Superior Spartans to the 2005 Wisconsin state championship.