Unless you were a die hard hockey fan, no one would have ever recognized the name Zach Sill before his trade to Toronto. Being in the spotlight of the hockey crazy Toronto, his every move is noticed, and on a team that has seemed to give up, he goes out every shift and gives it his all.
Toronto received Sill from Pittsburgh, along with draft picks, at the March 2nd deadline for forward Daniel Winnik. Many people thought he was just a throw in for Pittsburgh in the deal, but every hockey fan watching Leaf games now see's what Leaf's management saw in him.
Sill is what is now know as the modern day enforcer; someone who can fight but can also contribute in other areas of the game as well. He throws big hits, can shield the puck well, and has excellent speed. He brings energy to the Leafs each and every shift. He utilizes all of these abilities on Toronto's penalty kill and it proves to be effective. On a team that has optional practises (very few teams make practise optional), Sill comes to each and every one while the vast majority of his teammates stay home.
Many columnists insist his work ethic is great because he is playing for a NHL contract next season, as the career 4th liner is due to become a UFA on July 1st. Looking back at his time in Pittsburgh, anyone can see that he is still the same player he always has been, proving that his contract status has little to do with his game at the moment.
Since the trade to the Leafs, he has been in a couple fights in order to stick up for his teammates, something which has been noticed by many. He challenged Steve Ott of the Blues to a fight and many thought, including me, that he was in way over his head with the experienced Ott. Sill proved everyone wrong and with one uppercut knocked Ott to the ice.
In a game against Ottawa, Sens defenceman Mark Borowiecki took a run at Richard Panik. The hit was immediately noticed by Sill and within a matter of seconds he engaged in a fight to defend his teammate.
He is a team player, which the Leafs desperately need at the moment. Zack Sill won't go out and wow a crowd with his skills or moves, but instead showcases his speed, physicality, and puck shielding skills in all areas of the ice. The Leafs should seriously reconsider re-signing him, as having Sill and his work ethic can be valuable in the eyes of the teams young players, especially in the middle of a re-build.