GARRIOCH: Zach Sanford Hopes His Experience Will Help Ottawa Senators Succeed

“I’m excited to be here. It’s a good group of young players.”

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It didn’t take long for Zach Sanford to feel at home with the Ottawa Senators.


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Give credit to center Colin White, he welcomed his friend, teammate and linemate with open arms.

As the Senators prepared for the first home game of the exhibition schedule against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday at the Canadian Tire Center, the newly acquired winger was adjusting to his role with his new team.

Sanford is included in the 23-man roster the Senators released Tuesday afternoon for the Leafs game and is expected to fit into it. Yes, it’s a quick change, but coach DJ Smith and his team want Sanford to feel comfortable in his new surroundings as easily as possible.

White, 24, was the first player to text Sanford after he was transferred to the Senators on Saturday in exchange for disgruntled Logan Brown, and when the 26-year-old arrived from St. Louis, he moved out. west of White. wind up at home instead of staying in a hotel until you can find a place.


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Since the duo played together for a season at Boston College and spent time together on the ice in the summer, Sanford skated with White and winger Nick Paul during Tuesday’s skating. Sanford is trying to get used to his new surroundings and this will give him some familiarity.

“I’m excited to be here,” Sanford told reporters after the skating. “It’s a good group of young players and I think this team is improving. I’m excited to come and help as much as I can. ”

Having White here is helpful with the adjustment Sanford has to make to be in a new city.

“He was the first guy I talked to afterward and we were both very excited to see if we can make that chemistry work a bit again,” Sanford said. “He welcomed me into his home, so I’m staying with him right now. Hopefully we can go out together and get some of that spark back.


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Newly acquired Zach Sanford and Colin White were on the same page during practice at the Canadian Tire Center on Tuesday, September 28, 2021.
Newly acquired Zach Sanford and Colin White were on the same page during practice at the Canadian Tire Center on Tuesday, September 28, 2021. Photo by Jean Levac /Postmedia

“I didn’t play a lot (with White in college), just here and there. He’s an exciting player, like a lot of the guys on this team, because he’s quick, fast and smart. Skating with him in the summers, and in the past, we will be able to read each other, so I’m excited to hang out with him. “

Make no mistake, this exchange caught Sanford off guard. He knew the Blues were in a salary cap crisis and had to withdraw a salary, but he wasn’t sure if it would be his $ 2 million that they took off the books. Not that Sanford was looking for a change of scenery.

“I knew that St. Louis had to do something with the cap and everything that was happening there,” Sanford said. “There was an idea that something was going to happen, I’m sure there was an idea that it was going to be me, but I’m excited to get here with the guys.”


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Selected by the Washington Capitals No. 61 overall in 2013, he played for Belleville’s coach Trent Mann at Hershey. Sanford has prepared for 209 games with the Blues in the past three seasons and won a Stanley Cup there in 2019.

Smith used Sanford with White and Paul because he thinks it will be difficult to compete against the trio. Senators just couldn’t sidestep someone with their expertise.

“He’s a big guy with big hands, he won a Stanley Cup and he brings a presence to our team,” Smith said. “He played in a line with Colin White in college, so that weighs in on this. Whitey has certainly had a jump in his stride since the trade.

“That line with Nick Paul today looked like a playoff line. When you see in the playoffs, that big group of guys pedaling low, it’s just the first day of practice and we’ll see what they look like in games, but they look like a line that could be a handful. “


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And, once winger Brady Tkachuk gets back into the mix when he signs a contract extension, that will give the Senators more hard-to-compete players each night.

Sanford is a solid defensive player who should be able to help the Senators score some goals. He was 16 during the 2019-20 campaign and if he’s comfortable here, that should help him succeed. The club had been looking for an offensive player ever since he traded Evgenii Dadonov to the Vegas Golden Knights, so he should be a good fit.

Having won a Cup with the Blues and knowing what the journey entails, he hopes to pass on some of that knowledge to his teammates.

“As you watch the team, and each player go through that, what stands out is the discipline it takes to get through all of that,” Sanford said. “All the guys have to be there, and they have to be marked, and not many guys get to experience that kind of career early in their careers. I was lucky to have that.

“I was fortunate to learn from the vets there, so I hope I can bring a little of that preparation and discipline to this group.”

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Twitter: @sungarrioch



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