AP Photo/Nick Wass
Zach Sanford has had an interesting year since participating in the Capitals Development Camp back in early July. Planning to return for his junior year at Boston College, Sanford would be offered a contract from the Capitals immediately following camp, and ultimately land an opening night roster spot to start the season with the Capitals. However, after 20 games without scoring a goal, on November 30th, Sanford was reassigned to Hershey.
Sanford would rejoin the Capitals briefly in December, but for the most part, he spent the next two months in Hershey, working on his game. Then Andre Burakovsky broke his hand, and the doors of opportunity were once again swung wide open. Sanford would be recalled by the Capitals to fill-in for Burakovsky in the team’s final game before the bye week. The team time Sanford would make good use of the call-up count, scoring his first NHL goal and the eventual game winner against the Ducks.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) February 12, 2017
Just two hours after scoring his first NHL goal, Sanford was officially reassigned to Hershey. The Capitals were entering the bye-week, so it made sense that Sanford head back to Hershey to put in some work. He would make good use of his brief time with the Bears.
After delighting the Verizon Center crowd and his teammates by notching his first career NHL goal, Sanford jetted off to Bridgeport and rejoined the Bears just before their Saturday afternoon game in snowy Connecticut. Game and travel weary? Not Sanford – he scored a pair of goals for the Bears, who came up just short against the Sound Tigers.
Sanford and Jakub Vrana would be recalled by the Capitals when the team returned from their bye week. The call-up occurred just in time for a Friday morning workout, and flight with the team to Detroit. Sanford would notch the Capitals first goal on Saturday against the Red Wings, closing the score to 2-1.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) February 18, 2017
After going scoreless in his first 20 games, Sanford has scored two goals in two games played, and looks like a much more confident player than he did at the start of the season. Sanford met with the media following the game.
It’s been a pretty crazy year for the 22-year old. However, it’s hard to argue against how the Capitals have managed the young prospect, and the subsequent results of his latest play. In just eight short months, Sanford has quickly become an important piece to the Capitals puzzle, both short term and long term.
By Jon Sorensen