Philadelphia, PA — With the 16th pick in the first round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, the Columbus Blue Jackets went with the most dynamic talent of any American in the draft, Sonny Milano.
Milano is a left-handed shot that can play center or left wing. There’s no denying the stick-handling skills that he possesses, as evidenced by his most recent "Youtube" video.
Playing for the United States National Team Development Program U-18, in 58 games he put up gaudy numbers, going 29-56-85 and 25 PIM. Standing six foot tall and weighing 185 pounds, he’ll play this fall for Boston College.
A Massapequa, New York native, he played for the Cleveland Barons Midget U-16 team (have to LOVE the Ohio connection with this kid). Central Scouting had him pegged at 16 in this year’s draft. That’s where the Blue Jackets grabbed him, with CBJ Head Amateur Scout Ville Siren making the selection.
He has slick moves with the puck and a terrific imagination offensively. He played on a top line for the US U-18 team and looks to be a top-6 player similar to Jaden Schwartz (2010 draft, St. Louis Blues). It’s been said that his impact on the USNTDP was equal to the impact that Phil Kessel and Patrick Kane had on the program.
With such a high skill level, although not of elite status, Boston College should round off any rough edges he might have. Look for him to put on some weight to beef out his frame. He should also see some serious time on the top two lines while at Boston College under the auspices of head coach Jerry York.
He’s a gifted offensive player that should develop his defensive awareness while at BC. His skating and technical skills make a consistent threat to undress a defenseman that might be in his way. He led the US U-18 team with 56 assists last year.
The kid is consumed by hockey and has a style and panache all his own. TSN’s Craig Button had Milano ranked very high in almost all categories, including Ice Q (5/5), Hands (5/5) and Compete Level (5/5). Before committing to Boston College, he de-committed from Notre Dame, in part because he preferred BC’s "more offensive style".
The 18 year old left-winger, in the words of NHL’s Central Scouting David Gregory, "can make defenseman look silly." This speaks well of his skill set.
Even though he has committed to Boston College in the fall, it remains to be seen on whether he goes to Boston or opts instead to go the junior route, with the Plymouth Whalers (Ontario Hockey League) owning his rights.
All in all, Columbus made a sound pick to stock the cupboards for the future. With this kid, it might not be that far away.