2010-11: Zach Sanford played for Pinkerton Academy in New Hampshire and was named 3rd team All-State as a sophomore.
2011-12: Sanford was named the New Hampshire High School Player of the Year as Pinkerton Academy captured the state championship. The junior scored 36 goals with 33 assists in 21 games as the Astros finished 19-2, defeating Manchester Memorial, 3-2, in the championship game.
2012-13: Sanford skated for the Middlesex Islanders (formerly the New England Junior Monarchs) in the Eastern Junior Hockey League, foregoing his senior season at Pinkerton Academy. Skating primarily alongside Yale recruits Chris Izmerlian and Michael Doherty, he scored 12 goals with 24 assists and had 22 penalty minutes in 37 games. The Islanders reached the EJHL playoff finals – falling to the New Jersey Hitmen in a best of three series. Sanford scored 4 goals with 4 assists and had 8 penalty minutes in seven playoff games. In February he committed to playing hockey at Boston College in 2014-15. Rated 83rd amongst North American skaters in Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings, Sanford was rated 60th in the final rankings and was selected by Washington in the second round (61st overall) in the 2013 NHL Draft.
2013-14: Sanford spent a year in the USHL — skating for the Western Conference champion Waterloo Black Hawks. One of several scorers on a dominant Waterloo team, he scored 17 goals with 18 assists and was +15 with 60 penalty minutes in 52 games. The Black Hawks won 44 of 60 regular season games and reached the Clark Cup finals against Indiana. Sanford scored 5 goals with 7 assists and was +5 with 8 penalty minutes in 12 playoff games.
Sanford has the ideal frame for the NHL, already coming in at 6’4, 190 pounds. With a frame that size, he could stand to add a bit more strength and weight, making him even more difficult to play against in the future. For a big man, his skating is solid though unspectacular. Sanford possesses excellent vision and playmaking ability and has shown an ability to make those around him better. At 20 years old, he is still very raw, but has all the makings of the gem the Capitals envisioned when they took him in the second round back in 2013.
As stated above, Sanford is still very raw and needs to add serious weight to his frame. In 2015-16, he will be entering his sophomore season at Boston College and should take on a bigger role for one of college hockey’s powerhouses. Sanford will likely need another year or two in college as well as an additional year or two in the pros before he would see the ice in Washington. Given his size and skill set, he could be a top six power forward if he fulfills his potential, though he seems more suited to be a third line winger when all is said and done.