We continue breaking down the last 12 months for each of the Washington Capitals prospects with a review and forecast for defenseman Tobias Geisser. (You can access all of our Capitals Prospect Reports and player analysis on our “Prospects” page right here.)
Geisser, 20, is a 6’-4” left handed defenseman from Stans, Switzerland. He signed his entry-level contract with the Capitals on March 22nd, 2018. His contract is for three years at $803,333 AAV and will end once the 2020-2021 season finishes. Geisser is waivers-exempt this coming season.
The NLA is a league of men and Geisser was the youngest defensemen in the 2016-2017 season, and the 8th youngest defensemen in the 2017-2018 season, but of those under 19-year-olds, none were close to him in games played; he played 38 games, the second most was 16 (only one other player had double digits, the rest were less than 10). That tells us he’s very mature in his mentality and play style for his coaches to trust a youngster like him.
2018-2019 SEASON SUMMARY
Geisser, like many AHL rookies, showed up at Bears camp last fall, wide-eyed and ready to learn a different game. As noted below, after a few games, Bears Head Coach Spencer Carbery commented that he was impressed how fast Geisser was learning the AHL game. Geisser would ultimately be awarded “Most Improved” by the Bears on April 15.
Offensively, in the end, Geisser had just one assist in 41 regular season games played. He generated just 18 shots in those 41 games.
Geisser was selected by Team Switzerland in this year’s World Juniors tournament, but did not play due to a reported injury.
2018-2019 MONTH-BY-MONTH RECAP AND TREND ANALYSIS
The following month-by-month breakdown is an aggregation of our monthly prospect reports prepared during the 2018-2019 season. You can find all of our monthly prospect reports on our “Prospects” page in the top menu.
Geisser made his AHL start in Grand Rapids on 10/12. In an interview with Bears radio, Bears head coach Spencer Carbery commented that Geisser has improved tremendously in the month that he’s known him. Carbery said he was impressed by how fast Geisser was learning the AHL game. Unfortunately, Geisser would sustain an injury and play in just two games for the month of October.
Bears Head Coach Spencer Carbery stated in a pregame interview on November 10 that Geisser is “very wise beyond his years with processing coaching directions, reads on the ice, a quick learner.” Geisser returned from an injury he sustained last month to play in nine games in the month of November. The current injuries to blue line make this a prime time for Geisser to make a statement. The 6’-5’ Defenseman has played in 11 games so far this season, and has yet to make the scoresheet.
Geisser was selected for Team Switzerland in this year’s World Junior Championships. His last game with the Bears was December 16 against Springfield. Geisser played in seven games with the Bears in December, registering an assist in a game against Hartford on December 8, his first career AHL point. Unfortunately, Geisser sustained an upper-body injury in the World Junior Championships and did not play in a single game of the preliminary round. Several reports said his injury was to his elbow, while other reports said it was a shoulder that was injured. The Swiss Team left a spot open for Geisser up until the deadline for finalizing rosters for the next round, which leads one to believe that the injury was not too severe.
Geisser’s appearance at the World Juniors was cut short due to an upper-body injury. He did appear in a single game. Geisser returned from the World Juniors on Friday, January 4, and participated in practice, making his first start on January 11 against Springfield. In some ways, the month has been good for Geisser’s development, with his minimal experience at the World Juniors, and in other ways, it was a lost month for him. February will be a big month for Geisser. The Capitals signed Geisser to a three-year entry-level contract on March 22, 2018, for $867,000 annual average value.
Geisser, in some ways, is a victim of the depth of blueliners in the Capitals’ system, as he is fighting for playing time in Hershey. He saw action in just six of the Bears’ 12 games in February, and 32 of the Bears’ 56 games played. And this may only get worse next fall, when Alexander Alexeyev and (possibly) Chase Priskie join the fold. Geisser shows promise and has received glowing review from Bears Head Coach Spencer Carbery, noting that Geisser has been extremely quick in picking up the North American game, and shows a high-level understanding of the play on the ice. The 6’4” defenseman is young, and shows significant potential. His time to make a move is now. March and April will be extremely important for Geisser to make a showing in the games he does play in. Geisser, who just turned 20 in February, needs playing time, which may be more available elsewhere. It will be interesting to see how the Capitals set up the blueline in Hershey next fall, and if they decide to relocate certain players. Geisser was signed to a three-year, entry-level contract on 3/22/2018. with a cap hit of $867,000 AAV.
Geisser has not seen a lot of ice time. He was a healthy scratch for eight of Hershey’s 13 games in March and was a minus-2 in those five games, recording no points. He has one assist on the season, which came in December. Geisser would benefit from seeing more ice time, but he is not going to get that in Hershey. Perhaps the Bears would have been better served sending him to South Carolina when Jonas Siegenthaler was with the team, where he would have had the chance to improve his game with increased responsibility. There is potential there, but it will not be realized until he plays more.
Geisser was a forward most of his hockey life until a couple of years before he was drafted by the Capitals, when he switched positions to defense. He’s big at 6′-4″ and a bit over 200lbs, though he still doesn’t use his body enough. He moves well for a large player and has high hockey IQ, so he knows where to be. However, maybe his biggest asset is how fast he learns, which would indicate we see good things from Geisser this coming season.
As stated above, Geisser isn’t a huge point producer. But for him, it’s not about points at this part of his career. He was the youngest player on his team playing against men. He needs to keep developing those defensive skills, which he’s already pretty good at, before showing off his offensive tool kit. And he does have the potential. When he was 16 he was 2nd in defensive scoring in Elite Novizen with 20 goals and 15 assists. Those 20 goals led the league in defensive goals, the closest was 15.
Geisser needs to earn a full time starting spot this fall, and that will be difficult, with the likes of Alex Alexeyev and possibly phenom Martin Fehervary on their way to Hershey. Simply put, there are plenty of candidates for the six starting spots. But he can do it.
By Jon Sorensen