After two Stanley Cup seasons, the Pittsburgh Penguins are still looking towards their future. Part of that includes signing a number of young players to entry-level contracts. On September 26, the Penguins added yet another young talent by signing London Knights’ over-ager Sam Miletic to a three-year entry-level contract.
— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) September 26, 2017
Miletic, 20, was an undrafted free agent who spent the 2016-17 season with the OHL’s Knights before getting the invite to Pens’ camp. He finished first on the Knights in goals scored and fourth in points. And by all accounts, he won’t be back in London for the 2017-18 season.
Miletic: Numbers of a Knight
Miletic spent two seasons with the Knights and he took a major jump on the offensive side of the game in his second year.
In his first year in the OHL – the 2015-16 season – the Michigan native had just three goals and 14 points in 35 regular season games. He followed that performance up with 37 goals and 55 points in his second year with the Knights in 65 games. But he had just one assist in 12 playoff games as the Knights were ousted in the second round by the Erie Otters.
Miletic was originally drafted by the Knights with the 295th pick in the 2013 OHL Priority Selection draft. As a 15th-round pick, it’s safe to say that expectations weren’t exactly high for the young forward.
Still, in his NHL draft year (2015), the International Scouting Services (ISS) had him ranked 178th among draft-eligible prospects. Still, he went undrafted and landed with the Penguins at their training camp.
Baby Steps From a Baby Penguin
At six-feet and just under 200 pounds, Miletic stepped into Penguins rookie camp as the same crafty forward that led the Knights in goal scoring last season.
He played in all three Prospect Challenge contests in Buffalo, notching a goal and an assist before being named as part of the Pens’ training camp roster. There, he scored once in two contests. But it was enough to impress Penguins management.
Hence the three-year deal that both sides agreed upon. The deal runs through the 2019-20 season with an annual average value (AAV) of $710,000.
While Miletic won’t make the big club’s opening night roster, it seems as though he won’t be back with the Knights either.
He became the third undrafted free agent the Penguins signed out of camp – along with goaltender Alex D’Orio and forward Jordy Bellerive.
According to the Penguins, Miletic was one of 21 players sent to join the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, and has the potential of sticking with the baby Penguins for the upcoming season – which is a big loss for the Knights. While there’s still a possibility that Miletic returns to London, the baby Penguins might be the best fit for the 20-year-old who should garner some good experience playing against older competition in the American Hockey League (AHL).
The baby Penguins will open their exhibition schedule on Wednesday against the Hershey Bears.
Other Knights – like Max Jones and Victor Mete will also get long looks from their respective teams as NHL clubs continue to cut down their rosters as the beginning of the 2017-18 season fast approaches.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.