2017-18 Columbus Blue Jackets Player Review: Sonny Milano
Appearing in 55 games for the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2017-18 season, Sonny Milano got his first real taste of NHL action.
I wrote about Sonny Milano back in early October when he was the early surprise breakout, leading the Columbus Blue Jackets in goals with five. Though he wasn’t likely to lead the team in scoring as the season played out, he was always on a short leash under coach John Tortorella, his minutes closely monitored and never long.
As this quote from last Opening Night will surmise:
“I told Sonny when he overpassed on one play, you can score another one. I’m excited for him but then it’s business as usual. Just making sure he makes simple plays and then when the offensive chances come, he’s on his own.”
Sonny Milano 2017-18 Stats
Games Played: 55
Time on ice: 11:39
Penalty Minutes: 10
Corsi For: 50.7%
Milano scored four goals in the teams’ first three regular-season games. He notched his first career NHL goal just 1:07 into the season-opener against the New York Islanders, a Jackets’ 5-0 win.
Just three games later in Raleigh, Milano earned his first multi-goal game against the Carolina Hurricanes, including his first overtime game-winner. He was the Blue Jackets goals leader with five until Nov. 3 when Josh Anderson also tallied his fifth goal to force a tie and eventually pass Milano.
Prior to the season, Milano had just seven career NHL games to his credit, so his final markers: 14 goals, eight assists, 22 points, and 20.3 shooting percentage comes in his first full NHL season to date across 55 games.
Just as was the team’s scoring touch took off starting Feb. 26 against Washington, the teams’ 5-1 win and trade deadline day, Milano registered his ninth of the season and scored his final five through the final game of the regular season.
Milano missed 13 games following a torn oblique muscle suffered against the Toronto Maple Leafs Jan. 8. After Milano scored his first four NHL goals in the teams’ first three games, he only scored one more Oct. 21 against Los Angeles, and not again until December.
He was often part of the I-71 shuffle between Columbus and Cleveland, gaining playing time with the Monsters, and trying to stick as a constant piece in Tortorella’s lineups upon his returns.
Here are 437 words from John Tortorella on why #CBJ assigned Sonny Milano to @monstershockey— Brian Hedger (@JacketsInsider) December 4, 2017
Milano’s five goals to lead the team early on in the year speaks also to the wide-spread scoring slump for much of the season. But Milano only averaged 11:39 of ice-time for the year and even early when he was scoring, did not see more than 15:55 in game one and down to 3:17 against the St. Louis Blues Oct. 28.
He got a bit of a taste in the playoffs, appearing in three games and helping fill the void left by Alexander Wennberg’s injury in Game 1. Milano played sparingly, seeing his minutes slightly increase each game:
3:12 Game 2
5:55 Game 3
11:09 Game 4
Milano did not register a point.
Pierre-Luc Dubois is a 20-goal scorer as a rookie. Where would #CBJ be without him?— Mark Scheig (@markscheig) April 4, 2018
Honorable mention to Sonny Milano. He has 14 goals. Could have 20 had he stayed up the whole year.
Possibly, Sonny Milano will see more playing time in the 2018-19 season. The still just 22-year-old enters a contract year before his RFA status comes up next summer.
How would you grade Sonny Milano’s 2017-18 season?