This Season is Sonny Milano's Last Chance to Prove That He Belongs With the Blue Jackets

By Jacob Nitzberg on September 21, 2019 at 9:10 am
Oct 9, 2018; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Sonny Milano (22) looks to pass as Colorado Avalanche center Tyson Jost (17) defends during the first period at Nationwide Arena.
Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports
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Sonny Milano is only 23 years old.

However, it feels like he's been with the franchise forever. 

That's because he was only 18 when he was drafted by the club. Since then, he's played in the NHL in each of the next four seasons, but never for a full year. 

Milano has bounced around from the NHL to the AHL and back again several times. He's been unable to find a playstyle that would keep him with the NHL club for the full year.

The 2017-18 season was Milano's most successful. He started by scoring in each of the club's first four games and finished with 14 goals and 8 assists in 55 games. 

Despite his success, he only averaged 11:39 average TOI that season. It's common knowledge that Milano and John Tortorella see things quite differently, and Milano has to adapt to Tortorella's style if he wants to see more ice time this year. 

This preseason, Milano has started hot. He's scored twice in the Blue Jackets' first two games, including this nifty finish in front of the net. 

While Milano's offensive talent is clearly a great addition to the Blue Jackets' roster, the defensive side of the puck is where he struggles — and it's why he hasn't been able to nail down a full-time NHL job.

If Milano wants to make the opening day roster and cement his place in the everyday lineup, his physicality and positioning on defense have to improve.

It's possible that Milano makes the opening day roster and becomes an everyday player. It's also possible that he starts in the AHL and doesn't see any NHL ice time. 

It's up to him. His time is running out.

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