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2023-24 Rink Wrap: Sonny Milano

Mar 22, 2024; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Capitals left wing Sonny Milano (15) celebrates after scoring a hat trick during the third period against the Carolina Hurricanes at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

From Alexeyev to Wilson, weโ€™re taking a look at and grading the 2023-24 season for every player who laced โ€˜em up for the Washington Capitals for a significant number of games during the campaign, with an eye towards 2024-25. Next up, Sonny Milano.

The Bio:
#15 | Left Wing | Shoots: Left
Height: 6โ€™0โ€ | Weight: 194 | Born: May 12, 1996
Birthplace: Massapequa, New York | Acquired: Signed as a free agent, October 16, 2022
Cap Hit: $1,900,000 | Signed Through: 2025-26 | Expiry Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

The Scouting Report (via CapFriendly):
Report: November 2023 | Rating: 72 | Projection: Third Line

  • Skilled, middle of the lineup, secondary scorer.
  • Somewhat sheltered minutes at even strength. Best suited to match up against middle / bottom six opponents.
  • Average plus skater. Motion player who has the ability to push the play through the neutral zone and make plays just inside the opponents blue line.
  • Not a ton of physical push back.
  • Excellent puck touch. Has a role on the second PP unit.
  • Averages around 13:00 TOI. Deployed at ES and PP.
  • Defensive detail / commitment ranges

The Stats:

Regular Season

The Charts:

via JFresh Hockey
via HockeyStatCards

The Key Stat: Milano led not just the Caps in shooting percentage with an incredible 30% (15 goals on just 50 shots), but all skaters who played at least 110 minutes this season. Though highly unlikely to be sustainable (his career shooting percentage is 16.1%, which is pretty darn good), in a season where the Caps desperately needed goals, he certainly pulled his weight and more.

The Good: What’s not to like about Milano? He’s young, skilled, and just reliable. You can throw him anywhere and you know you’ll get something good. It’s interesting, because he has the rep as a skill guy but can actually be pretty impactful on the defensive side – and if he were paired with more offensive players, he could be a plus on both sides of the puck. He certainly has the skill to hang with whoever and proved that this season.

The Bad: Milano himself doesn’t really do anything bad, but he was kind of dealt a bad hand this season with his ice time. He played just 11:22 a game at 5v5, which was 14th among Caps’ forwards. That jumped up to 12:30 in all situations, 13th among forwards. Simply put, he needs to be playing more than that. He should be floating around 6th-9th most time on ice among forwards.

That’s not necessarily a knock on Spencer Carbery’s deployment of his forwards. It was a weird year for everyone, with lots of player injuries (including Milano, who missed nearly half the season to an upper body injury), player movements (Backstrom, Kuznetsov, Mantha) and just oddity all around. Hopefully going forward Milano is given more consistent middle six ice time that he deserves.

The Video:

The Discussion: Do you think Milano can keep up his shooting percentage? How much ice time should he get a game? He’s averaged almost 41 points per 82 games with the Caps the last two seasons – will he hit the 40 point mark next season? And finally, what would it take for you to give Milano a 10 next season?

The Vote: Rate Sonny Milano below on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season – so if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.

How would you rate Sonny Milano's 2023-24 season? (Ratings will be revealed after all Rink Wraps have been completed.)

Talking Points