With the 2018 NHL Entry Draft now in our rear view mirrors, we will begin breaking-down the last 12 months for each of the Washington Capitals prospects and provide a forecast for the coming season. We continue the series of reports with a review and forecast for Shane Gersich. (You can access all of our Capitals Prospect Reports and player analysis on our “Prospects” page right here.)
Gersich (21) signed his entry-level contract on March 23rd, and reported to the Capitals the following day. His contract was for two years at $925,000 AAV, with this season counting on the contract. He will be a restricted free agent next summer. He is waivers exempt for the coming season.
Gersich’s collegiate career statistically peaked in his Sophomore year where he spent most of the season on a high-powered line that included Brock Boeser (Vancouver Canucks) and Tyson Jost (Colorado Avalanche), both currently playing in the NHL. Gersich Scored 21 goals and registered 16 assists in 40 games his Sophomore season.
Gersich noted in an interview just after joining the Capitals that the team offered him the opportunity to immediately join the team, as a condition of his entry level contract, which he did. Gersich saw action in three NHL games at the conclusion of the regular season, making his NHL debut against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on March 23rd. Albeit a small sample size, Gersich did give Caps fans a quick glimpse at his speed and abilities on the ice. (Checkout our analysis of his first NHL game right here.)
2017-2018 SEASON SUMMARY
Gersich had a relatively slow start to his Junior year at North Dakota, which ultimately saw him dropping to the bottom six by the middle of the season. However, Gersich responded nicely, returning to the top line in early spring, and he never looked back. Gersich tallied 13 goals and 16 assists in 40 games played this season.
2017-2018 MONTH-BY-MONTH RECAP AND TREND ANALYSIS
The following is a compilation of our month-by-month prospect reports for Shane Gersich during the 2017-2018 season.
Last year, Gersich had an amazing Sophomore season, potting 21 goals and 16 assists (37 points) in 40 games, turning a lot of heads. But so far, it’s been slow for Gersich, who only has two goals and three assists in eight games. But if you remove the first three games he has two goals and three assists in five games. Still, there’s two big reasons for this and their names are Tyson Jost and Brock Boeser. Those are two high-end talents that left for the NHL, leaving Gersich as the go-to man for North Dakota. This means opponents can focus on the speedy skilled winger a lot more than last season. But I wouldn’t get too worried, Gersich acknowledges the difficulties and plans on getting to a new level. But the biggest concern for the Capitals is: can they get him signed before he decides to hit free agency? We’ll see.
Gersich continues to have a rough go in his Junior year after his spectacular Sophomore season. Through 16 games played, he only has five goals and four assists, and he should probably be close to doubling that. Again, the main reason for this is he went from having Tyler Jost, a high-end prospect for the Colorado Avalanche, as his center to Rhett Gardner, a decent, not great prospect for the Dallas Stars. His shooting percentage is also down. Last season, he was shooting at a 13.7% clip, and this season just 9.4%. Again, a lot of that has to do with going from an elite college center to a decent one. He needs to find a way to produce and drive his team.
Shane Gersich continues to have a rough go in his Junior year after an attention-grabbing Sophomore season. Gersich registered no goals and two assists in four games in the month of December. Gersich now has five goals and six assists in 20 games this season. As we mentioned in last month’s prospect summary , a potential reason for the downturn might be the fact he has transitioned from having Tyler Jost, a high-end prospect for the Colorado Avalanche, as his center to Rhett Gardner, a decent, not great prospect for the Dallas Stars. Gersich and North Dakota have 16 games remaining on the regular season schedule.
Gersich started 2018 and the second half of the North Dakota season with a two assists in the opening weekend series against Omaha-Nebraska. After a somewhat quiet middle of the month Gersich was dropped to the fourth-line, but was re-positioned to left wing on the second-line by the end of the month. Gersich registered three goals and six assists in eight games for the month of January, easily his best month of the season. He now has eight goals and 12 assists in 28 games this season. UND has eight games remaining in the regular season.
Gersich started the month at left wing on the third line but made his way back to the top line on February 10th against Colorado College. He remained on the top line for the remainder of the games in February. For the month, Gersich saw an increase in scoring at the beginning of February, scoring three goals in the first four games of the month, and ended the month with three goals and three assists in six games in February. Gersich now has 11 goals and 15 assists in 34 regular season games for a .76 points per game average, with two regular season games remaining. After a very slow start to the season, Gersich saw an uptick in scoring in the second half of the season. He will end the season below his 2016-2017 season numbers (21 goals, 16 assists in 40 games played), but that was somewhat expected, considering his linemates from last season (Brock Boesser and Tyson Jost). North Dakota wraps up the regular season the first weekend in March when they host St. Cloud State for a pair of games.
Gersich remained at the left wing position on North Dakota’s top-line. Gersich and North Dakota finished the regular season with a pair of games against St. Cloud State the first weekend of March. Gersich scored no goals and one assist in the season closeout games. Gersich finished the regular season with 11 goals and 16 assists in 36 games played. Gersich and North Dakota opened postseason play hosting Nebraska-Omaha. Gersich continued to play at left wing on the top-line in the postseason. He scored a goal in Game 1 of the first round as UND advanced by sweeping Omaha-Nebraska on March 9 and 10. Gersich had a goal and an assist in the final game of the season against Minnesota-Duluth. UND was eliminated from postseason play on 3/17. Gersich finished the year with 13 goals and 16 assists in 40 games played. Gersich finished the season second in goals and third in assists for the Fighting Sioux. Gersich fired 125 shots on the season for a 0.72 points per game average. Gersich signed a two-year entry-level deal with the Capitals on March 23. He will earn $925,000 AAV. Gersich had one year of college eligibility remaining. He will battle for a roster spot this fall, but most likely will start next season in Hershey.
Gersich has the potential to make the Capitals starting grid this coming season. His youth, speed and quickness on the puck would be a huge asset to the Capitals. However, it’s likely Gersich will start the season and spend a good amount of time in Hershey for the final year of his entry-level contract. The time in Chocolatetown will be well spent, learning the pro game and working on his defensive game.
However, depending on how things shake-out this summer (free agency) and during training camp in September, Gersich could find his way into the lineup on opening night.
By Jon Sorensen