The Anaheim Ducks are extending forward Sonny Milano on a two-year, $1.7 million contract, per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. The Ducks acquired Milano on February 24, 2020 from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for forward Devin Shore. The 24-year-old would’ve faced restricted free agency and arbitration if not extended.
Milano was drafted 16th overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft by the Blue Jackets. In 116 games with Columbus, he notched 20 goals and 22 points, though he was also shuffled between the NHL and AHL, tallying 45 goals and 67 assists for 112 points over 163 games with the Cleveland Monsters.
The twins behind Evolving-Hockey created a contract projection model and based on previous contract data, they anticipated the Milano extension to come in at around $1.5 million for two years, so the reported extension isn’t far off. If it feels like an overpay, it’s only ever so slight.
The biggest question mark over Milano is likely that he hasn’t played a full season at the NHL level yet. But the change of scenery could fix that just as easily, as he’ll certainly see more of an opportunity with the Ducks and is no longer waivers eligible. It’s encouraging that despite the inconsistency with his NHL time, it has translated fairly well offensively, though his defensive play could still use some work.
That said, the next two years are going to be weird for the NHL, staring down a static cap and whatever scheduling fallout occurs after the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs being held in the summer and fall. Milano is a sufficient bottom-six player and a capable third-liner. At the end of the contract, he’ll be 26, making these next two years crucial in finding out if he can live up to pressure from being drafted in the first round, even if it was six years ago.
Milano’s last contract was a one-year, $874,125 contract extension with the Blue Jackets.