NHL Rumours: Free Agent Linked with Return to Long Island

Sonny Milano linked
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This summer, former pending restricted free agent Sonny Milano was surprisingly not qualified by the Anaheim Ducks.

He subsequently became an unrestricted free agent and has yet to be picked up by a new team. This has led to plenty of speculation as to his next landing spot. Sonny Milano has been linked to the New York Islanders.

NHL free agent frenzy

Sonny Milano Linked With Boyhood Club

As is the case with many free agents, fans of Milano’s boyhood team, the New York Islanders, have been asking if he may be a fit on Long Island. Reports have come out in the positive.

In a piece for NYI Hockey Now, Stefen Rosner speculated that the Isles could be an option for the Massapequa native.

Later, in an Islanders mailbag for The Athletic, Kevin Kurtz took more of a deep dive. He was able to discuss with a number of league scouts, with one agreeing he could definitely find his groove with New York.

“Talented player, do think he benefited from playing alongside [Trevor] Zegras. Needs to be used in an offensive role. … I see value at the right number. I don’t think he’s a bad option for (the Islanders). Can add some secondary scoring if they are looking for more offence from the group.”

What Would Milano Bring to New York?

Milano, who was selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets with the 16th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, is a speedy, skilful playmaker with solid puck handling capabilities. Although he did not meet the lofty expectations Columbus had for him, he played well in Anaheim. However, many have attributed his uptick in performance to playing alongside the aforementioned Zegras. He may remain unsigned as a result of hesitations that being away from his former teammate could negatively impact his productivity on the ice.

Anaheim’s general manager Pat Verbeek considered the potential arbitration award of $3 million AAV too much. Milano scored 14 goals and 34 points in 66 games. Therefore, it is possible that the Islanders, who could do with more goals than Milano could realistically provide, agree.

However, the Islanders have forward Mathew Barzal, who is also a skilful playmaker. Just as Milano and Zegras combined beautifully for the Ducks, history could repeat itself with Barzal. This potential boost in creativity by a Long Islander could be too much for Lou Lamoriello to pass on.

In terms of money, home is home. If an offer is made by the Isles, the chance to pull on the blue and orange jersey could result in a hometown discount being agreed upon. On a one-year prove-it deal, anything between $2 million and $2.5 million would make Milano quite the low-risk high ceiling depth piece. It may also leave them just enough room to sign another free agent they have been linked with; Nazem Kadri.