Looks like Milano Watch has finally come to an end. According to the Boston College Hockey News, Sonny Milano will be signing a professional contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets. This means that Milano will be joining the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League this season. Reports previously surfaced that Milano was leaning away from Boston College. However, Milano repeatedly denied the reports, even indicating at times that he was attending Boston College.
This move doesn’t really come as much of a surprise. The OHL offers a 68 game regular season schedule, compared to the NCAA’s 34 game schedule, which doesn’t count tournament games. In addition, the OHL playoffs are just like the NHL playoffs. There are 16 teams that make the playoffs. Each series is a best of 7 series. If you count the World Junior Championships later in the season, that gives Milano the potential, depending on how the playoffs shake out, to play anywhere between 80 and 100 games this upcoming season. It has been well documented that Milano is a gym rat, and would seem to favor the extra playing time. Now he certainly will get that chance.
Sonny Milano has informed @BCHockeyNews that he will sign a professional contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets organization.
— BC Hockey (@BCHockey) August 16, 2014
Milano’s Future and Contract
Plymouth meanwhile was doing everything that they could to get Milano to join them this season. The Whalers completed a trade with the Sudbury Wolves to acquire overage center Matthew Campagna. It is expected that these two would play on the same line together. Campagna had an excellent season in Sudbury last year, finishing with 74 points, while playing in all 68 regular season games. Campagna has played in a total of 263 games in the OHL, which includes 26 postseason games. He has 213 points in those games. This combination of Campagna and Milano will make Plymouth one of the teams to beat in the OHL Western conference.
The fact that Sonny Milano has decided to sign a pro contract with Columbus indicates a couple of things. He is now able to play in the NHL Prospects Tournament coming up in Traverse City. He can also attend Blue Jackets training camp when it starts. By staying at Boston College, neither of those would have been a possibility. Milano now is eligible for a healthy signing bonus by signing this contract, without having to worry about his NCAA eligibility. This contract points to the possibility that Milano could make the Blue Jackets as soon as next season.
Milano was in a win-win situation no matter what he decided. Both Boston College and Plymouth are very well respected in their respective leagues. He would have been able to do great things no matter which path he selected. The Blue Jackets now have control of Milano’s professional development. This in my mind is the right move for Milano to make. Nothing replaces real game experience. The OHL offers twice as many games in the regular season as the NCAA. The OHL schedule is more in line with what the NHL does. For someone who could make an impact in the NHL next season, this move had to be made. Good move Sonny.