Blue Jackets’ 2014 first-round pick Milano puts emphasis on getting stronger

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It’s a common theme for just about every young player graduating from junior hockey to the professional ranks: The need to get stronger.

Sonny Milano, selected 16th overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2014, went from the Ontario Hockey League, where he recorded 68 points in 50 games for the Plymouth Whalers, to getting a little taste of professional hockey earlier this spring.

He appeared in 10 games for the Springfield Falcons and registered five assists.

Having just attended Blue Jackets development camp this week, it appears the 19-year-old winger, who suffered a facial fracture in a rookie tournament last September, is putting emphasis on strength. The Blue Jackets already like his skill.

“I really needed to focus on gaining muscle and gaining weight. I worked hard on heavy weights,” Milano told

“I’m maturing too, getting older. I need to keep gaining strength. I need to make harder plays on the ice. That’s something they really stress; harder plays and harder passes and get better defensively like I’ve been doing.”