One way or another, Sonny Milano’s time in Columbus could be drawing to a close. The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline writes that the Blue Jackets are ready to move on from the talented, but inconsistent winger. Milano, 23, was a 2014 first-round pick who entered the pro ranks with high expectations. However, in the years since Milano has struggled to stick in Columbus. He played in just seven combined NHL games in his first two seasons and played in only eight games last year, with a 55-game 2017-18 campaign sandwiched in between. Yet, even in that season Milano had a hard time with consistency and work ethic, scoring in bunches for a total 22 points. It was a major step forward for the prospect, but wasn’t exactly a season that left the Blue Jackets with visions of grandeur. As such, his regression last season was far from a surprise. Portzline notes that while Milano has struggled, rookies Emil Bemstrom and Alexandre Texier have passed him up on the organizational depth chart. For the first time this season, Milano is no longer waiver exempt, but there doesn’t seem to be much room for him on the NHL roster. Portzline feels that on raw talent alone a team would be likely to take a chance on him via waivers. Unsurprisingly, he reports that Columbus would prefer to trade him rather than lose him on the wire. If they are successful, such a move would likely be occurring by the start of the regular season next week.
- While the Blue Jackets are anticipating the departure of Milano, the Bruins are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Patrice Bergeron. The team’s top center has been sidelined for much of training camp with a lingering groin injury, but Boston held out hope that he would be ready for the start of the regular season. After steadily increasing his participation in practice over the last week, the team announced that Bergeron is expected to see his first (and only) preseason action in Chicago on Saturday. This is very positive news for the Bruins, as many questioned whether Bergeron would even be ready to begin the real season, nevertheless healthy enough to play in an exhibition game. The timing could not be better either, as No. 2 center David Krejci suffered an injury in the team’s preseason contest on Monday night and he availability to begin the year is now in question. Head coach Bruce Cassidy does not believe the injury to be serious, but the team will take their time with Krejci. Boston is better prepared for the absence of a top-six center this year than in years past with Charlie Coyle in the fold, but it would be a tough start to the year if both Bergeron and Krejci were sidelined for the Bruins.
- After the NHL and the Officials’ Association agreed to terms on a new contract on Friday, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that the officials have voted to ratify the proposed deal. The NHL owners must now do the same, although the vote is expected to be consistent. A new, four-year deal between the league and its on-ice officials will be formalized before the start of the season, avoiding any drama to take away from the beginning of a new campaign.