PHILADELPHIA – Just four years after entering a Bauer video contest to win a free pair of skates, 18 year old Sonny Milano fulfilled a dream shared by many young hockey players before him. The U.S. U-18 National Development Team forward became the Columbus Blue Jackets’ first selection in the 2014 NHL Draft, the first step in the lengthy process of becoming an NHL player.
While many might know him for his YouTube videos demonstrating gravity-defying stick tricks, the 6’0”, 183 lbs winger is just as impressive on the ice, with scouts highlighting his ability to elude defenders through his speed and stickhandling. Spending much of his time on the U.S. U-18 roster on a line with the highly-talented Jack Eichel, Milano consistently proved his ability to be a true playmaker, creating opportunities for his teammates while still being able to bury the puck himself. In 58 U.S. NTDP games, Milano posted an impressive 29 goals and 57 assists, with an additional 3 goals and 7 assists in 7 games at the 2014 World Junior Championships.
Despite his promising past performance, there are still substantial portions of Milano’s game which need improved-upon, specifically his defensive play. Committed to play at Boston College this upcoming season, Milano will undoubtedly be able to develop his game under the mentorship of head coach Jerry York. Nevertheless, while it might still be several years before the Blue Jackets organization feel Milano is ready for the NHL, fans should be excited for this talented and deadly offensive weapon in the future.
Photo Credit: Tom Sorensen