The Washington Capitals rewarded rookie Zach Sanford for scoring his first NHL goal, the game-winner in their 6-4 defeat of the Anaheim Ducks yesterday, by sending him back down to the AHL. The Capitals announced this morning that they have reassigned Sanford to the Hershey Bears. Of course, the team is entering its bye week, so his demotion is not so much a reflection of his performance, as it is an effort to get him some more ice time while the NHL squad takes a break. The first-year pro has just two points in 21 games with Washington this season, but has 14 points in Hershey.
Sanford was nearly a point-per-game player for the Boston College Eagles last year, scoring 39 points in 41 games as a sophomore. A 2013 second-round pick of the Capitals, he chose to leave BC early this summer and get an early start on his pro career. The Eagles have felt the effect of his and others decisions to depart the team, leaving BC without a single junior on the squad. Sanford joined defenseman Steven Santini and forward Miles Wood of the New Jersey Devils, forwards Alex Tuch and Adam Gilmour of the Minnesota Wild, Vancouver Canucks goalie prospect Thatcher Demko, and Florida Panthers defenseman Ian McCoshen as former Eagles who skipped out on the 2016-17 NCAA season. While Boston College still sits atop the Hockey East Conference with a 13-4-1 record so far, their overall record of 18-9-2 going into this week had them ranked 7th overall, behind local rivals like Boston University and Harvard, and following losses to BU and Merrimack, they should fall even farther down the ranks.
Elsewhere around the league:
- As expected, Ottawa Senators goalie Andrew Hammond cleared waivers and has been reassigned to the AHL’s Binghamton Senators, according to the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch. It’s been a monumental career collapse for Hammond, who is just two years removed from posting an unreal .941 save percentage and 1.79 goals against average in 24 games in his rookie season with the Senators. Hammond’s numbers tailed off some last year, but he was still impressive. No one could have predicted that through six games in 2016-17, the young keeper would have an abysmal .837 goals against average and 4.08 goals against average. Whether it’s due to injury or mechanical problems or even just the stress of the fluid state of Craig Anderson’s availability and the competition with newcomer Mike Condon, Hammond has not performed like himself at all this year and no team was willing to take a chance on him at this time. It’s unfortunate for Hammond, who likely needs a change of scenery, but has never played well in the AHL and would be better served to sit on the bench with another NHL team for a while.
- The Montreal Canadiens announced last night that they have demoted forward Daniel Carr to the St. John’s Ice Caps of the AHL. Carr has two goals and seven assists in 33 games with the Habs this season, but is still trying to carve out a permanent role for himself on the team. The move opens up a roster spot for them to activate right winger Brendan Gallagher off IR.
- The Los Angeles Kings also made a move late last night, reassigning defenseman Paul LaDue to the AHL’s Ontario Reign. LaDue made his NHL debut last Tuesday and recorded his first NHL point on Thursday, but will head back to the minors with just those two games under his belt. A member of the NCAA champion University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux last year, LaDue capped off a third straight season of about 20 points in 41 games, and has maintained that pace in the AHL with 18 points through 36 games with Ontario in 2016-17.
- The Edmonton Oilers have again sent down forward Anton Lander to the AHL. Once considered to be surefire NHL regular, Lander has struggled all season long in Edmonton, scoring just one goal and three assists in 22 games. When Lander has spent time with the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors, scoring has been no problem, but he has not been able to translate that success to the next level. In his stead, the Oilers have recalled Iiro Pakarinen. Like Lander, Pakarinen was expected to be a contributor in Edmonton after playing in 63 games last season. However, he managed to score just 13 points in that time, and in response has seen no NHL action yet in 2016-17. With Lander not capitalizing on his chances, it seems likely that GM Peter Chiarelli has decided to give Pakarinen another shot.
- The Tampa Bay Lightning announced that they’ve sent winger Erik Condra and center Gabriel Dumont to Syracuse of the AHL. Condra has been held off the scoresheet in 13 NHL games this season but has been better in the minors with 26 points in 29 contests. As for Dumont, he has ten points in 19 games with the Crunch plus a pair of points in 14 contests with Tampa Bay. With the team off on their bye week until Saturday, this will give them a chance to stay in game shape before likely being recalled later in the week.
More to come.