Now up for the NHL draft, Sonny Milano is one of the top talents available from the United States and is honing his craft with Team USA’s National Team Development Program.
Sonny Milano really wanted a pair of Bauer skates. The Long Island native was about 14 at the time and read about a contest on the equipment titan’s website where he could win the company’s APX blades by filming his own commercial about how he would change the game.
The result was impressive. Not only did Milano’s incredible stickwork win him the skates, but the video now serves as an early indicator of just how dangerous the young left winger is when he has the puck. The only casualty was a laptop that Milano accidentally busted while filming.
“Just the screen, though,” he said.
Now up for the NHL draft, Milano is one of the top talents available from the United States and is honing his craft with Team USA’s National Team Development Program.
“Exceptional speed,” said one scout. “Pretty skilled, pretty dynamic offensively. He has the ability to make things happen by himself, but other times you can see he works well with others.”
Originally committed to Notre Dame, Milano recently made a switch and now plans on joining Boston College next season. Like NTDP teammate Jack Dougherty (who swapped an Ohio State commit to Wisconsin), the left winger felt he may have rushed into his original decision.
“Notre Dame is a great program, but I feel that I committed too early,” Milano said. “I always wanted to be a Boston College Eagle, my whole life. I’ll be closer to home, too.”
A big fan of Chicago’s Patrick Kane, it’s not hard to see the similarities between the two players. At 5-foot-11, 185 pounds, Milano is slightly heavier than Kane (who also played at the NTDP) and credits Team USA’s great off-ice program for helping him develop. He likes to create offense and cites his hands as his best asset and is trying to round out his game now.
“I want to work on moving without the puck and getting open,” he said. “I also need to forecheck more.”
In the meantime, his contributions to the NTDP’s under-18 squad are obvious. Milano leads the team in scoring with 23 assists and 35 points in 21 games and has played well in international competition. At a recent Four Nations tournament, he tallied eight points in three games, helping the U.S. to a second-place finish behind Sweden. There, he got to see an old friend in action: top Euro pick Willie Nylander.
“He’s got the moves,” Milano said. “We played on a bunch of summer teams together.”
Now they may see each other on the first night of the draft. Nylander is looking like a top-5 pick, while Milano will have to wait a little longer, but is impressing enough to be a first-rounder himself.
While Notre Dame certainly would have been a fine destination for the youngster, he will be joining an incredible freshman class with the Eagles when Milano hits Chestnut Hill next season. Along with NTDP teammate Alex Tuch (also a potential first-rounder this season), Milano will come in to Boston College alongside New England prep star J.D. Dudek, the dynamic Tanner MacMaster from the Alberta Jr. A ranks and big Washington Capitals draft pick Zach Sanford, currently in the United States League.
And if Milano’s reputation for offense and flair hasn’t already preceded him in Boston, he can just direct his fans and new teammates to the video he made as a 14-year-old:
Photo credit: Tom Sorensen