Spring is almost here! Once again the Blues are causing its fan base to freak out and call for outrageous trades with near unattainable expectations. Though there are a few things to smile about, one being the return of Zach Sanford, who has been out all season recovering from shoulder surgery. Is the 23 year the missing piece to the puzzle? While that may be a bit of a stretch, Sanford can still provide depth support. At least one with more offensive flair than say Chris Thorburn for example.
Sadly Sanford’s stint with the Blues has been brief, just 13 regular season games though he did put up five points. Add in four playoff games for the main club and two for the Chicago Wolves and that wraps up his time with the Blue note.
The 2013 second round pick (Washington Capitals) has been assigned to the San Antonio Rampage for the time being and that’s the best home for Sanford currently. He hasn’t played hockey in quite a long time. At least not in real game situations, you can only prepare so much in practice drills. The Rampage also look to be getting another prospect returning from a knock of his own Tage Thompson, though his injury was much more minor.
Switching things back to Sanford, placing him in the AHL gives the forward time to gain his footing again. To take a few hits and battle for pucks in a real game for the first time since last spring. The American League is also a tad slower (not by much) than the NHL which should also give Sanford that extra second or two to make those important decisions with the puck. He did spend some time in the AHL last season before the Kevin Shattenkirk trade, with the Hershey Bears, the Caps affiliate. Having put up 16 points in 25 games it’s clear he knows how to put the puck in the net and create chances for others around him.
To say Sanford will save the Blues from this current slump is putting way too much on his shoulders( no joke intended). The fact of the matter is he’s still growing into his game. Still years away from his prime the Blues at one point in time were testing Sanford out at the center position. He’s played in the role before, just not with the Blues system.
In a lot of ways Sanford represents exactly what the Blues are as a team. Filled with plenty of potential but the final product still remains a bit of a mystery. So for the time being lets be happy to just have him back on the ice playing hockey again. A healthy Sanford provides hope down the road as the youth of the Blues continues to show promise.