Money Milano: Sonny Milano Critical Piece To Washington Capitals Success Plan For 2023-24 Season

When the Calgary Flames released
Sonny Milano from his professional tryout last season, the Washington Capitals immediately jumped on the opportunity and signed the unrestricted free agent forward. During his brief stint in Calgary, the 27-year-old couldn’t find his game, and went scoreless in four preseason games with the Flames. 

But the Caps couldn’t pass up the opportunity to sign someone who was coming off a career-year. Milano had 34 points (14 goals, 20 assists) in 66 games with the Anaheim Ducks and scored what ended up being the goal of the year in the 2021-22 season.

Milano was known as a skilled player that could play in any situation, and his underlying numbers proved that, so it was pretty surprising when the news came out that he was going to be a UFA to start the year.

Just 10 days after he was released, Milano inked a one-year, $750,000 contract with D.C. The 2014 first-round pick was then placed on waivers so he could start his new journey with the Hershey Bears. He ended up clearing and played five games in Chocolate Town, tallying three points (two goals, one assist).

Milano was called up to the big club and made his debut on Nov. 5 against the Arizona Coyotes. He started off strong, finishing the month of November with seven points (three goals, four assists) in 12 games, which was fifth on the team. 

 But the Massapequa, N.Y., native burst onto the scene in December. Milano was a very important piece in the Caps’ December surge, racking up nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 13 games. His best game of the month was on Dec. 17, 2022, against the Toronto Maple Leafs, where he had three assists in a dominating 5-2 win.

 However, Tom Wilson and Nicklas Backstrom were on the verge of returning after missing the entire first half of the season due to ACL surgery and hip resurfacing surgery respectively. Questions started to arise as to who former head coach Peter Laviolette would take out of the lineup, and Milano looked to be the odd man out.

 But the winger remained in the lineup once the two core pieces returned, and he eventually earned a three-year, $1.9 million extension. Though he started to cool off towards the end of the year, along with battling some minor injuries in late March, Milano made his case to be a regular staple in Washington’s lineup down the road. He finished the season ranked seventh on the team with 33 points (11 goals, 22 assists) in 64 games.

Heading into year two, the biggest thing to expect from Milano on a night-to-night basis is his versatility. He brings a good two-way game to any line and can play in different situations. Meanwhile, his defensive game improved over the course of the campaign and was doing a lot of the little things right such as winning puck battles in the corners. 

“It is important to me,” Milano said back in January. “I don’t know if that is something others know, but that it is important to me. Definitely, I’ve worked hard to learn how to be a good defensive player over the years. It took a lot of correcting, but I think I made a lot of improvements.”

Milano is going to be an important piece for the Capitals this season as they aim to return to the playoffs.

By Jacob Cheris

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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4 Responses to Money Milano: Sonny Milano Critical Piece To Washington Capitals Success Plan For 2023-24 Season

  1. Prevent Defense says:

    Let’s Go Milano!
    Nine days and a wake-up until Caps’ Rookie Training Camp

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hopeful last season was a sign of things to come, and not an aberration

    • DWGie26 says:

      34 points two years ago. 33 last year with us. Hopefully that is the floor and he builds on it. Then it is a nice value and an easily moved piece at deadline if things go that way.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Money Milano! I love it.

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