With the Caps planning to carry a 14th forward on the roster to start the season, it's no secret who the leader of the pack is after the first week of training camp. Zach Sanford has had the coaches raving about both his stature and his play in the first week of camp.
Todd Reirden mentioned Sanford while he was running training camp while head coach Barry Trotz was away at the World Cup. The young forward out of Boston College has also already impressed Trotz in his brief time back with the team.
Trotz praised Sanford's strength with the puck on Sunday saying "He's put in some good work this summer."
There's just one problem: Sanford is a center.
"Just looking at the mid ice, right now with [Lars Eller] and [Jay Beagle] we feel real comfortable with all four of our centermen," Trotz said.
Having an impressive center prospect is never a bad thing, but after the Caps acquired Eller in the offseason there's little room for another center in the lineup. Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov currently lay claim to the position on the top two lines. Beagle began last season as the third-line center, but Eller will take that role this year and Beagle will move to the fourth line.
So where does Sanford fit?
The team may have revealed their answer on Sunday as Sanford played the team scrimmage at left wing. Trotz also told reporters he anticipated Sanford playing wing in Monday's game on a line with Eller.
Considering how difficult it is to find and develop NHL caliber centers, Sanford's move to wing will likely be only a temporary move. The Caps hope to cycle prospects in at the 14th forward spot throughout the season so even if Sanford makes the Capitals' roster out of camp, chances are he will not be there very long.
Moving Sanford to wing is a way for the Caps to reward him for a strong camp and get him some NHL experience before sending him down to Hershey presumably as a center.
Said Trotz, "We're really impessed the way he's played so we're going to put him on the wing a little bit here and we know he can go back to center."
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