ST. LOUIS - On Monday night, the Blues acquired a first-round pick in 2017, a conditional second round pick, Zach Sanford and Brad Malone from the Washington Capitals in exchange for Kevin Shattenkirk and Pheonix Copley.
The player likely to make the most immediate impact for the Blues in the deal is Sanford, a 22-year-old Salem, Massachusetts native who made his NHL debut this season with the Capitals. At 6-foot-4 and 203 pounds, Sanford is a big player that can play center or the wing. He's drawn comparisons to Tage Thompson, a 6-foot-5 center the Blues selected with the 26th overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft last summer.
Sanford played two seasons at Boston College, registering 63 points (22 goals, 43 assists) in 79 career NCAA games. Last season, he scored 39 points (13 goals, 26 assists) in 41 games and ranked second on the club in assists, third in points and fifth in goals as a sophomore. He intended to return to college for his junior season, but impressed Capitals' management enough in their prospect camp that he was convinced to turn pro. After a strong training camp, Sanford earned a spot on the Capitals' roster for opening night.
In 26 games with the Capitals this season, Sanford has two goals and an assist.
We caught up with the newest Blue to discuss many things ranging from the trade to St. Louis, his favorite movies and his take on toasted ravs.
BLUES: Surely the trade to St. Louis came as a big surprise. How did you get the news and what were your initial thoughts?
SANFORD: I was in New York (for our game against the Rangers) and got the call. They told me I was coming to St. Louis and it was pretty crazy for me at first, but I'm definitely excited to be here in St. Louis and see where it goes. Hopefully I can help the team out here down the road.
BLUES: Do you know any of the current Blues or ever played with any of them?
SANFORD: No, I don't. This will be entirely new for me.
BLUES: A lot of Blues fans are probably learning your name for the first time. What can you tell them about the player they're getting?
SANFORD: I'm a big guy, obviously. I play with some size and protect the puck well down low, have some skill. I think I'm a pretty good two-way player. I can put the puck in the net and play some defense.
BLUES: Is there anyone in the League, past or present, that you feel you model your game after?
SANFORD: I always say James van Riemsdyk. He's always around the net.
BLUES: You planned to return to Boston College for your junior season but had a great camp with the Capitals, so good in fact they invited you to join their roster to start the season. What was that experience like, earning a spot on one of the most stacked rosters in the League?
SANFORD: That was awesome to get in there on opening night and get some games in and play at that level. It was a great experience and my first taste of the NHL. It was really cool to realize my dream, and to get that right off the bat was really cool. You learn something new every day when you're out there with those guys on the ice. Every player in this League can teach you something different.
BLUES: You scored your first NHL goal just a few weeks ago, and it was a game-winner. Describe the emotions of that moment.
SANFORD: It was crazy. My first time up with Washington, I didn't score in 20 games. I got another chance and was able to score in my first game (after being recalled). It was a lot of relief. It was a good first goal, definitely a memorable one.
BLUES: Give us some insight into you away from the rink. What kind of music would we find on your phone?
SANFORD: Definitely a lot of hip hop and rap. But I'll listen to anything.
BLUES: What do you like to do when you're not around the rink?
SANFORD: Movies. I'm huge into movies. I really like "Inception" and movies that get you thinking. I just watched "The Prestige" for the first time, and that was awesome.
BLUES: Have you ever had toasted ravioli?
SANFORD: No. What's that?
BLUES: Basically it's beef that is breaded, then deep-fried and served with marinara. It's extremely popular in St. Louis.
SANFORD: Yeah I'll be trying that for sure.