The St. Louis Blues have re-signed depth forward Zach Sanford for the 2021-22 season as we continue through summer. The deal is just for the coming year and carries a cap hit of $2 million. The Blues have been fairly active signing players this offseason including this most recent move in order to avoid arbitration. Elliotte Friedman reported the move Wednesday afternoon.
Blues Re-Sign Zach Sanford
Sanford was one of St. Louis’ many secondary options in 2020-21. The 26-year-old skater appeared in 52 out of 56 games with 10 goals and six assists for 16 points during that time. His average ice time spiked to a new career-best of 14:53 due to injuries to other options. He was also credited with 69 hits and 44 blocks with a 44.6 Corsi For and -5.6 relative Corsi. Some of the raw stats look fine, but he was borderline terrible from an advanced perspective. It wasn’t as though he spent an egregious amount of time on defence with only 55 percent of his starts coming in that zone.
The Washington Capitals originally drafted Sanford in the second round of the 2013 Draft. The former Boston College Eagle appeared for 26 games as a rookie in the U.S. capital before heading to St. Louis via trade that included, among others, Kevin Shattenkirk. He is mostly suited to a bottom-six role, but 248 career hits and 133 blocks are things many organizations still value. Sanford also has 38 goals and 74 points in 209 career games.
What This Means
Sanford will have a clear path towards regular playing time again in 2021-22. The Blues have several players who can do similar things but expect a regular role on the third or fourth line as a checking forward with some occasional offence.
St. Louis has just $1.5 million after this signing with one restricted free agent left to address. The entirety of that space should go towards Robert Thomas, who is due a raise from his previous cap hit of $894,000. That is likely the team’s last significant move barring a trade.
Main Photo: OTTAWA, ON – MARCH 14: St. Louis Blues Winger Zach Sanford (12) during the warm-up before National Hockey League action between the St. Louis Blues and Ottawa Senators on March 14, 2019, at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, ON, Canada. (Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)