With the 16th pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, the Jackets draft winger Sonny Milano.
The Jackets used their first round pick on Boston College-bound Sonny Milano, a highly skilled winger from the USNTDP. Milano lit up the USHL playing on a line with Alex Tuch and 2015 Draft-eligible center Jack Eichel.
I love this pick. Milano has hockey sense and skill in spades, and has the ability to be a lethal sniper for the Jackets, unlike any player they have ever possessed.
The added benefit of taking a player who's college bound is the four-year development cycle, versus the two-year cycle for junior and European players before they have to be signed.
Here's our profile on Milano:
Current Team: Boston College, NCAA
Date of Birth: May 12, 1996
Place of Birth: Massapequa,New York, USA
Weight: 185 lbs
A teammate of our #17 profile, Dylan Larkin, Sonny Milano actually ranks one slot higher than Larkin in the NHL Central Scouting Final Rankings, at #16, and one spot below (#16 vs. #15) in the ISS Rankings, the two players have shared the attention on the national team, albeit via slightly different routes.
As the video highlights below show, Milano has it all in the offensive end, with both the ability to score and find the open man. His total of 86 points in just 58 games catches the attention, and also raises questions. With the ability to post those kinds of numbers at an elite level, why does he not rank more highly in the pre-draft listings?
Consider the following quote on Milano:
He's so dynamic, very good with the puck in traffic and in open ice and can make defensemen look silly. . . He'll allow the play to come to him, take a hit and chirp it up before heading on a 2-on-1 in the opposite direction, resulting in a goal. . . He certainly has the potential of becoming a complete player. -- David Gregory, NHL Central Scouting
Catch that "potential"of being a complete player? Whereas Larkin is hailed as a complete player, Milano is almost universally viewed in offensive terms. Most observers acknowledge that he needs work in the defensive end . . . which is hardly surprising for anyone at this level. Clearly, however, the scouts have seen less progress in this regard than they might otherwise prefer.
Milano is going to have the opportunity to refine his game at Boston College -- having created something of a stir by changing his commitment from Notre Dame to BC rather late in the game. He falls a bit on the small side, but not drastically so. If he can put ten pounds on a 5'11" frame, without losing speed or quickness, he'll be able to hold his own at the NHL level.
A Good Fit in Columbus?
It would be a stretch to consider Milano a top contender for the Blue Jackets' pick in the first round, given the possibility that other players -- including Larkin -- might be available at #16. Still, a truly gifted offensive player is never to be discarded lightly, and funny things can happen in the actual picks come draft day. Figure at least one year at Boston College, and more likely two, and a year in the AHL, Milano might fit nicely in the Columbus "scheduling"of prospective forwards. It will boil down to whether the risks attendant to the rounding out of his game overshadow his skills in the offensive zone. If he does become a true three zone player, however, watch out. The sky is the limit then.
Milano in Action