The Winnipeg Jets are the next team that will take a chance on Zach Sanford, acquiring him from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for a 2022 fifth-round pick. Sanford is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season.
Sanford, 27, was originally selected in the second round by the Washington Capitals, as his mix of size and skill was quite the attractive prospect. After just 26 games with the Capitals though he ended up traded to the St. Louis Blues in a deal for Kevin Shattenkirk, where he would spend the next few seasons. Another trade took him to Ottawa last fall, and now he’ll get one last chance to show what he can do before hitting the open market. In 62 games this season he’s registered nine goals and 17 points, though is still providing that trademarked physicality, racking up 131 hits in that time.
It’s kind of an odd move for the Jets, given they sold Andrew Copp to the New York Rangers, but there’s certainly still a possibility that they could contend down the stretch. A fifth-round pick isn’t going to hurt the future very much, and it could also give the team a headstart on an extension, should they feel like Sanford fits what they’re trying to do in Winnipeg.
For Ottawa, grabbing a draft pick for Sanford was better than losing him for nothing, as it was becoming clear that the team’s young forward prospects would likely keep him from reaching an extension anyway. With their moves the last few days, the Senators have racked up a good number of draft picks, assets they can use to acquire more talent in the summer or continue to stock the cupboard with prospects.
Darren Dreger of TSN broke the trade on Twitter.