If everything works out, the Columbus Blue Jackets won’t be relying on any rookies in 2015-16, but they should know better than most that a hockey season rarely goes according to plan. They might not be nearly as unlucky as they were in 2014-15 when it comes to injuries, but the unfortunate reality is that some players will likely get hurt along the way and when that happens, the Blue Jackets will need someone that can fill the void.
Sonny Milano might be that man.
Taken with the 16th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, Milano had 22 goals and 68 points in 50 contests with the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers before he began his pro career with five assists in 10 AHL games. Although he’ll certainly get a shot to make the Blue Jackets out of training camp, he’s more likely to begin the season in the minors.
He could be one of the first players the Blue Jackets call upon though when they need reinforcements and he has the offensive skills to take advantage of such an opportunity. He’s a fast and elusive skater that is effective with the puck. You can see some of that firsthand below courtesy of this goal he scored against Finland during Team USA’s recent World Juniors camp:
To make matters better, he’s filled out his frame as the 5-foot-11 forward weighed in at 200 pounds during the Blue Jackets’ 2015 development camp, which was an increase of roughly 15. He also stay in Columbus this summer so that he could work more closely with the team.
“I’m not going to turn down a chance like that to be working out with the pros, being in Columbus and getting to know the area,” he told NHL.com.
“I really needed to focus on gaining muscle and gaining weight. I worked hard on heavy weights. 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.”
Those efforts could pay off rather soon.