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Blue Jackets top pick Sonny Milano may join Plymouth Whalers, not Boston College — report

Neate Sager
Buzzing The Net

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Milano, Columbus' No. 16 overall pick, is committed to Boston College (Matt Slocum, Associated Press)

At the NHL draft in June, there was talk of Columbus Blue Jackets first-round pick Sonny Milano passing on joining Boston College to play in the OHL.

Now there is a bona fide Milano Watch, with one apparent domino that, should it topple, could influence how this is handled. On Sunday, Rogers Sportsnet's Jeff Marek tweeted that Milano, a supple-handed speedster who could be a big contributor for Team USA at the next two world junior championships, is set to commit to the Plymouth Whalers. A possible sweetener is the Whalers completing a trade with the Sudbury Wolves for overage centre Mathew Campagna, who certainly does not want to give off the wrong impression about his intentions for this season.

Aaron Portzline, the Blue Jackets beat writer for the Columbus Dispatch, corroborated that the two developments are related.

As Portzline put it:

This comes in the wake of a Sudbury Star report late last week that threw ice chips six inches short of spelling out that Campagna is not coming back to the Wolves. The playmaking centre, who has averaged more than a point per game across each of the past two seasons, has

From Ben Leeson (@Ben_Leeson):

Campagna has been lying low lately. He responded to repeated attempts to contact him with a text saying he was vacationing and politely requested we wait until after the long weekend for an interview.

That may only fuel the already rampant rumours about Campagna, whom some pundits have predicted won't return to the Nickel City.

It was a tough final few months for him last season. His role was reduced somewhat after the Wolves acquired Radek Faksa at the trade deadline, and his production fell off, as well. Then, only a couple of weeks after the end of the season, his longtime billet and close friend, Fabio Belli, died suddenly.

At the time, Campagna said “going back to Sudbury will never be the same,” with Belli gone.

If he does decide to move on, he may have his pick of destinations, at least to some degree, due to the no-trade clause the former first-rounder has in his contract. (Sudbury Star, Aug. 1)

It's understandable why Campagna, who comes across a thoughtful, soft-spoken type off the ice, would desire a change of a scenery. The Whalers also don't have a returning scorer who counted more than 38 points in 2013-14.

The Wolves also need to rebuild their stock of OHL priority selection picks. Sudbury anted big last season for Faksa and defenceman Trevor Carrick in a bid to build for a playoff run that never materialized.

Oh, and there's a chance for Plymouth to land a catalyst in Milano. As far as the debate over whether major junior or the college hockey is best, there's really no right answer. The debate is really about how much and how willing the NHL organization the draft pick belongs to is willing to work around the NCAA's complex, outmoded concept of amateurism. That concern is removed when the player goes to junior.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.

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