The Washington Capitals traded their 84th, 114th and 127th picks on draft day to Winnipeg in exchange for the 61st overall selection. After the second round, General Manager George McPhee reasoned, there was little talent left. So with the pick, the Caps grabbed giant six-foot-three-inch center Zach Sanford.
Coming into this year, Sanford was an under-the-radar prospect playing in the obscure EJHL. But as the year went on Sanford’s stock rose. He’s a big and fast pivot, something that sticks out late in the second round. However, many scouts, including Corey Pronman and Future Considerations, insist that Sanford needs to learn to use his size better.
A point-per-game player in the EJHL, Sanford has many offensive tools: his hands are very good for a big guy, he’s a smart player who sets his teammates up, and has a dangerous shot. Sanford needs to continue develop the way he did this past year. He was switched to left wing early in the year as he tried to adjust to a new league and struggled at the position. When he moved back to center, however, Sanford became a pivotal part of his team’s offense.
“I like to think of myself as a playmaker — being able to set guys, see them on the back door, on the breakout,” he told Mike Vogel after being drafted. “I think that’s definitely a big part of my game now and going down the road.”
Sanford has committed to Boston College and he’s expected to play there after next season. He’ll spend the upcoming year with Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL.
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