8:00pm: The Ducks have officially confirmed the new deal. Milano is set to make $1.6MM next season and $1.8MM in 2021-22.
4:30pm: The Anaheim Ducks will be handing out an extension to one of their young trade deadline acquisitions according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet. The insider reports that Sonny Milano will be signing a two-year extension that will carry an average annual value of $1.7MM. Milano was scheduled to become a restricted free agent at the end of the season.
The 24-year old forward has quite honestly been a disappointment to this point in his NHL career, after going 16th overall in 2014. When the Columbus Blue Jackets selected him Milano had just dominated at the USNTDP and would continue that offensive performance in his one year of CHL hockey. Oozing with skill, the winger took immediately to the professional ranks when transitioning to the AHL and even recorded five points in ten games as a teenager in 2015.
The biggest question with Milano was always his consistency and whether he could round out a defensive game to go along with his offensive skill. It was tough for him to crack John Tortorella’s lineup, and when he did there were long stretches where he would seem to disappear. In 120 games for the Blue Jackets, he recorded just 42 points and averaged fewer than 12 minutes of ice time.
Then came the trade deadline, when it was obvious he needed a fresh start and his contract was coming to an end. The Blue Jackets shipped him to Anaheim in a one-for-one trade that saw Devin Shore go the other way, giving him a chance to play every day in the top-six of a rebuilding club. Milano got into nine games with the Ducks before the season ended, and recorded five points while averaging 15:30 of ice time.
Now, with the Ducks looking to continue their youth movement, Milano will get a chance to prove he belongs there as a core piece. A $1.7MM cap hit is a relatively big commitment for a player who has just 47 career points in 125 regular season games, but the Ducks obviously liked what they saw.
For Milano, this is basically a perfect outcome. He’ll still be a restricted free agent at the end of the deal but he gets some financial security for the next two years, a likely chance to play power play minutes beside talented teammates, and will be arbitration-eligible and able to force his way to UFA status in 2022 if he chooses. Now he just needs to find that consistency which has always eluded him.