The Columbus Blue Jackets needed a roster spot to activate veteran forward Brandon Dubinsky from injured reserve, according to Columbus Post-Dispatch’s Brian Hedger. However, the team surprised a few by opting to send winger Sonny Milano, who is not waiver-eligible, to the Cleveland Monsters of the AHL.
It is a surprise for a few since Milano posted 14 goals last year and many thought that the 22-year-old was ready to take that next step up in his game and even develop into a top-six left wing for the franchise in the future. However, it hasn’t been a good year for Milano so far, who has appeared in just eight games for the Blue Jackets with just one goal and four healthy scratches. Milano averaged 11:39 of ATOI last season, but found his playing time dwindle to just 8:19 this season.
While there may have been better options, it’s the easiest decision for the team who otherwise would have had to place a player on waivers, which they obviously preferred not to do. The team hopes that Milano can find his scoring prowess as well as work on his defensive game while in Cleveland, hoping that the demotion sparks his play.
The team does get a big boost in the return of Dubinsky. The veteran has only played in the first two games of the season before straining an oblique muscle during practice and has since missed 10 games. The 32-year-old veteran had a career-low 16 points in 62 games last season and many believed he desperately needed a bounce-back season. While it’s too early to tell, Dubinsky looked good in the first two games of the season, putting up a goal and an assist, while receiving 14:27 of ATOI in those two games. Dubinsky still has three years remaining on his deal, paying him $5.85MM AAV.