Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2013 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical draft profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Sports is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! For a Complete Listing of all our 2013 Draft Articles Click here.
Edit: Drafted 61st Overall by the Washington Capitals.
Today we bring you a draft prospect who is getting a ton of buzz across the internet, and seems to be a favorite of various scouting services, Zach Sanford. Now here at Last Word, we aren’t going to B.S. you. The reality is that Sanford played hockey in the EJHL for the Middlesex Islanders. This is an undercovered league. As a result, we have personally seen no tapes of full game footage of this player, and are not ranking him. However because we strive to bring you the reader full draft coverage, we are going to quote what other sources have said about him and direct you to more quality pieces on Sanford. In this way you can trust that we will always bring you the straight goods (as we see them) on any prospect we cover, but will also strive to not leave our readers completely out of the loop when it comes to high ranking NHL Prospects. For this reason Sanford is the first of our honourable mentions (not ranked by us, but by who is getting 2nd/3rd round draft buzz that we’ve noticed, and how much buzz we’ve noticed).
Stats wise Sanford started slow as a rookie in the EJHL, but really turned it on in the later part of the year. He finished with 12 goals and 24 assists for 36 points for Middlesex. Sanford is committed to play at Boston College next year. However if he decides to go the CHL route he was drafted by the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in round 14 of the 2013 Draft. His USHL rights are owned by the Waterloo Blackhawks.
Born =Nov 9 1994 — Auburn, NH
Height 6’4″ —- Weight 183.7 lbs — Shoots Left
Sanford is ranked 60th amongst North American Skaters by NHL Central Scouting.
Western Collegiate Hockey Blog interviewed Sanford’s coach at Middlesex, Casey Kesselring, who says the following about Sanford. You can click here to read the full article and more quotes.
“He’s a dominant offensive player. He has good hands and can really maneuver around the other teams’ defensemen.”
“Zach has a long reach. I would tell people that he’s just like a human highlight reel,” said Kesselring. “He’s a nice kid who lets his play speak for itself,”
Draftsite.com projects Sanford at 77th overall. Bill Placzek says.
“Large wing who has size, strength, a hockey head and outstanding hands at the Division One level. Good playmaker who moves well. Is an above average passer, and has a good backhander, and can play the game with puck while moving at his top speed. Good on his skates and has a strong stride, and also as good a short touch passer as you will see. If he chooses to play more physically, there is huge upside in this large package.”
Sanford is Ranked 53rd by McKeen’s draft guide (which is available for purchase by clicking here): Here is a short quote. Their scouting report is thorough, and full, but we won’t give it all away and ask that you buy the publications if you want the full report.
“tall, lanky winger brings skill, determination, and a mature demeanour .. responsible two-way winger – provides steady coverage by staying in position – and resisting a temptation to do more”
Sanford is Ranked 57th by Future Considerations. They also have a draft guide for sale. Again we will simply give a short quote from their detailed report.
“He has very good hands that allow him to carry the puck through traffic as well as make him dangerous around the net. He uses his long reach, strength and frame to protect the puck from defenders. He sees the ice well and makes crisp, accurate passes to teammates.”
Sanford told Ryan Kennedy of the Hockey News that he models his game after James Van Riemsdyk.
“A big part is puck protection,” he said. “Being a big kid with long arms, long legs out there. Winning 1-on-1 battles and my defensive play are some other things I’ve been focusing on a lot to improve on.”
THN’s Draft Preview ranked Sanford 57th.
So there you have it, a quick look at Zach Sanford around the web. Check back tomorrow for another NHL draft feature.
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