- Associated Press - Friday, June 27, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - From YouTube sensation to first pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

With the 16th selection in the opening round, the Blue Jackets took Sonny Milano, an offense-minded forward who played last year for the USA Under-18 team and will attend Boston College this fall.

Milano was an Internet sensation after filming a series of trick shots and dazzling bits of puck-handling when he was 14 in an attempt to win a free pair of skates from a sportswear company. He got the skates.

“I actually never wore them; I just kept my old ones,” he said. “I never used them much. I gave them to a friend of mine.”


A year ago, the 6-foot, 185-pound Milano had 29 goals and 56 assists in 58 games for the USA development team.

He’s envisioned as a scorer, but believes he makes his teammates and team better.

“I think I’m just a smart player with good hands who’s really creative,” he said. “I hope I make other players better, too. That’s what I bring to the table.”

The selection was announced in Philadelphia at the draft by Blue Jackets head amateur scout Ville Siren.

After the top five or 10 picks, few experts were able to gauge the rest of the draft. But Milano had an inkling that his name might end up being called by the Blue Jackets.

“I had a crazy feeling, actually,” he said. “Right before they announced the pick I had a feeling and told my mom that. I guess I kind of called it.”

Before introducing Siren to announce the pick, Blue Jackets director of hockey of operations John Davidson offered an invitation to fans to come to the NHL All-Star game next season at Nationwide Arena.

“C’mon over,” Davidson said with a grin.

Milano is a native of Massepequa, New York. His given first name is Frank. He hopes that it won’t be long until he makes a name for himself in the NHL.

“That’s not up to me, that’s up to the staff in Columbus,” he said. “I’m just going to keep on trying to get better every day and hopefully I’ll be there soon. I’m just going to keep playing my game.”

It’s already been a busy past couple of weeks for the Blue Jackets.

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