Sonny Milano hasn't been a Duck for all that long, but in his limited time in Anaheim he made quite an impression. After coming to the Ducks in a trade deadline deal with Columbus for forward Devin Shore on February 24, Milano played in just nine games before the NHL season was shut down, and Anaheim did not qualify for the league's 24-team playoff plan.
His first game a day later was a rollicking debut, as the left winger scored two goals - including the game-winner two minutes into overtime - to fuel a 4-3 victory over Edmonton at Honda Center.
Video: EDM@ANA: Milano taps home PPG for OT winner
That introduction and the handful of games afterward were enough for the Ducks to offer Milano a two-year contract extension just before he was scheduled to become a restricted free agent.
Milano spent parts of five seasons with the Blue Jackets, who took him with the 16th overall pick of the 2014 NHL Draft. He scored a career-high 14 goals in 55 games for Columbus two seasons ago.
The native of Massapequa, NY checked in from Manhattan on Wednesday to discuss the new deal and his offseason so far.
How did the contact negotiations come about during this strange time?
I didn't really know what was going on with the season at first. We didn't know if we were coming back or anything, so I was just working out until then. Once we figured out the season was over, we talked a little bit, and things heated up the past couple weeks and we came to an agreement. I'm just glad things worked out for both sides.
Hard to believe, you only played nine games with the Ducks. What were your impressions during that short time?
I definitely felt comfortable right away. I was playing with Getzlaf and Rakell at first, and they took me under their wing. Getz is obviously a veteran player, and he's one of the best guys to play with. I got comfortable pretty quick, and it was a fun nine games. That first game helped me get comfortable in a hurry.
What are your hopes for the near future in Anaheim?
I'm definitely excited for the opportunity the team has given me, and I want to take advantage of that. I want to be a difference-maker, help the team win some games and show the guys what I can do.
How has your offseason been going?
It's good for the most part. I was living in Orange County for the first half of summer, living in an Airbnb for the two months after the season was cancelled, down in Newport by Balboa Island. I moved here in early June, and I'm living in an Airbnb in Manhattan. I've been training in Connecticut with [strength coach] Ben Prentiss, who works with the Rangers, and Trevor Zegras [Ducks 2019 first round draft pick].
So I mostly go to Connecticut to train and visit family at the beach in Long Island on the weekends. It's about a 40-minute commute from the city and about an hour and a half from Long Island.
Have you been able to keep in touch with any teammates?
A little bit. There is a group chat that we're in. When I was training back in Orange County, I saw Manson and Fowler a lot and of course Zegras every day.
Are you going to get into the playoffs?
I'll definitely watch this for sure. I watched yesterday's [exhibition] games, and I'm getting excited. It looks pretty good what they're doing with the stands and all that. I was curious to see what was going to happen with that, but when I turned it on yesterday, it seemed like a normal game. They've done a good job with that.
What are your plans for returning to Orange County?
If there is a date, I'll come out a month earlier to get situated and all that. I think maybe next week I'll start looking for a place to live.