NY Islanders: Where is the UFA interest for Long Island's Sonny Milano?

Anaheim Ducks v New York Islanders
Anaheim Ducks v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

While much (if not all) of our attention surrounding the New York Islanders' has been aimed toward Nazim Kadri in recent days, another free agent that remains unsigned is Long Island native Sonny Milano. In our "best of the rest" series, James Nichols profiled Milano and broke down his career trajectory, chemistry with Trevor Zegras, and playing-making ability - including knowing when to get out of the way.

At 26, Milano's career seemed to be building momentum until he was not tendered a contract by the Anaheim Ducks this off-season. This was a modest surprise as Milano's game appeared to hit a stride last season. He put up 34 points (14G+20A) in 66 games fitting in well on a line with Zegras.

NY Islanders: Where is the UFA interest for Long Island's Sonny Milano?

A couple of weeks ago, I saw Milano's name on a list. No, not the remaining free-agent lists. A 5v5 primary assist projection based on A3Z (all three zone) passing data and assists courtesy JFresh Hockey. Look at the company he keeps. All-Stars, Hart Trophy Winners, Stanley Cup Champions, Mathew Barzal, and Sonny Milano! Even if you attribute Milano's projections to playing with Zegras, most of the players listed here are skating alongside gifted forwards.

From Alex Chauvancy in The Hockey Writers, Milano's 52.02 CF% ranked first on the Ducks, while his 52.75 xG% was second to Adam Henrique. Even when paired away from Zegras, his CF% and xG% were just about break-even (a touch over 49 percent).  A look at his microstat profile shows that while his point production does not jump off the stat sheet, his game has characteristics that lead to scoring opportunities.

The advanced stats would indicate that Milano has something to offer the next team to give him a shot. He hasn't been seriously linked to any teams in recent weeks but remains an affordable UFA with playmaking upside. It's hard to find a spot on the Islanders roster for Milano - even before the rumored Kadri signing - but if there is a multiplayer trade to coincide with a Kadri signing there is potential for that to change.

Next. The best of what's left for the Islanders: Sonny Milano edition. dark

NHL players that grew up on Long Island AND are Islanders fans are a rarity. The timing might not be right for a Milano homecoming, but while interest from other NHL teams remains dormant, one can wonder if that means there is more than one UFA signing the Islanders could be pursuing.

Whichever teams end up signing Milano, they should be getting a motivated first-round talent with something to prove at a critical juncture of his career.