For Sonny Milano, the best offense is a consistent defense.
Indeed, the offensive prowess of the first-year regular was never in question. Just check out this video from three years ago and see why Milano was such a highly touted prospect when Columbus took him with the 17th overall pick in the 2014 draft.
As with any raw talent, Milano still needed work on the finer points of his game. He credits his time last season learning under AHL coach John Madden with the Lake Erie Monsters for rounding out his game.
The promising young scorer has made the most of his early opportunity getting regular NHL playing time, leading the Blue Jackets, 2-1 through three games, in goals so far this season (4).
Of Milano’s four goals thus far, none has come at any better time than Wednesday’s overtime game-winner in Carolina on a night in which an empty-net Hurricanes goal in the waning moments prevented Columbus from winning the game in regulation.
He’ll try to duplicate those efforts Friday as the Jackets return home to host another Metro division rival, New York Rangers.
Milano leads the Jackets in scoring with four goals, and no other player on the roster has more than one goal. However, a number of players have registered multiple assists, including three from captain Nick Foligno and Artemi Panarin.
Expect Columbus to score Friday. In five games last season against the Rangers, only once did Columbus fail to score at least four goals in the game.
With two of the first three on the road, logging four points in this early stretch is respectable. Still, Friday’s game feels like an early season test: A four-point swing game at home against a division opponent that at the conclusion of a long week.
Columbus consistently won games like this last season, and this one against New York is an opportunity lay an early marker in this 2017-2018 campaign.