The Washington Capitals have signed 2013 draft pick Zach Sanford to a three-year, entry-level contract the team announced on Monday. Sanford was expected to return to Boston College this season, but reports began circulating on Sunday that the Caps were pushing to sign him for this season.
Sanford stood out at development camp and was clearly ready for the next step in his career. The question now is just what that step will be. He has played both center and wing in college and was thought to be a future NHL center. Washington's recent push, however, may suggest the Caps have other plans.
With Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Lars Eller and Jay Beagle, the Caps look set at center. The departure of Jason Chimera, however, has left an opening at left wing. While Sanford's signing could be an attempt to shore up depth, it seems unlikely the Caps would have pushed so hard to sign a player just so he can spend the season in the AHL.
Going from college straight to the NHL is a big jump, but at 6-foot-4, 191 pounds, Sanford certainly has the frame to do it. At 21-years-old, he is also be older than fellow 2013 draft pick Andre Burakovsky.
From Salem, Mass., Sanford tallied 39 points in 41 games for Boston Collge last season, helping the Eagles reach the Frozen Four. For his college career, he has 63 points in 79 games. He was selected by the Caps in the second round of the 2013 NHL Draft behind Burakovsky and Madison Bowey.
The Salem, Mass., native registered 63 points (22 goals, 43 assists) in 79 career games with Boston College. Sanford was drafted by the Capitals in the second round, 61st overall, in the 2013 NHL Draft.