We continue our annual prospect review and forecast series with Tobias Geisser, defenseman for EV Zug in the NLA (Swiss League). (You can access all of our Capitals Prospect Reports and player analysis on our “Prospects” page right here.)
Geisser, a 6’4″, 205 lb left-handed defenseman, was drafted by the Capitals in the 4th round (#120 overall) of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. The 21-year-old Swiss native has split time between the AHL and the NLA over the past two seasons. Geisser signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Capitals on March 22, 2018, for $774,444 AAV. He will be an RFA at the end of the 2022-20223 season.
Geisser was one of the youngest defensemen in the 2016-2017 NLA 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.
Geisser spent the 2018-2019 season in Hershey where he played in 41 games. Geisser was selected by Team Switzerland in 2019 World Juniors tournament, but did not play due to a reported injury.
Geisser began his 2019-2020 campaign in Hershey, where he played in just seven games before being loaned to EV Zug on December 5th. The depth at the defenseman position was simply too great for Geisser to see any consistent playing time with the Bears. He would play in 25 games for EV Zug prior to the conclusion of the season.
2019-2020 MONTH-BY-MONTH RECAP AND TREND ANALYSIS
The following month-by-month breakdown is an aggregation of our monthly prospect reports prepared during the 2019-2020 season. You can find all of our weekly and monthly prospect reports on our “Prospects” page in the top menu.
Geisser has had a slow start to the season. The 6’,4” defenseman has been a healthy scratch for seven of the Bears ‘first nine games due to the amount of defensemen currently on Hershey’s roster. Geisser, who was voted Hershey’s most improved player last season, may be the one who misses the most games in the early season, but Spencer Carbery and the Capitals think highly of the smart and quick defensemen, so his time will come once the backlog of prospects subsides a bit.
The Swiss-born defenseman played in five games in November, going scoreless in those five games. Defensively, things did not go well for Geisser. He was a minus-8 in the games he did play, which is not the kind of performance that is going to earn Geisser more playing time on a crowded blueline. Playing time for defensemen would be scarce this season with the number of blueliners in Hershey, and Geisser has been the odd man out so far. With Tyler Lewington back in Hershey and Lucas Johansen’s eventual return from injury, a stint in South Carolina may be in order for the Swiss defender.
After starting the season in Hershey, Tobias Geisser was loaned back to his native team ZV Zug in the Swiss league NLA. The sturdy defensive defensemen has suited up for four games since his return and has yet to put any points. The move across the Atlantic has proven to be troublesome for the former Swiss international. Hopefully Geisser can find his groove again back among the alps.
Since leaving Hershey for his native country of Switzerland, Geisser has played a total of 14 games for the current league leaders EV Zug. Geisser has never been known for his point production, as evidenced by his single assist, but is more of a shutdown blueliner. The Swiss rearguard is playing Top 4 minutes, averaging north of 16 minutes per night, and playing on the penalty kill. After a bumpy start to the the season it seems as though Geisser is finding his groove and bouncing back.
Geisser and EV Zug finished the regular season with a second place finish, securing home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The defenseman ended the season with a total of two points in 25 games, in what was quite a tough season. The Swiss blueliner has another two years on his deal with the Capitals, and even if things progress, it seems as though Geisser has a long way to the NHL.
Geisser has the tools and smarts to play at the AHL level, he just needs to see consistent playing time to develop. At the beginning of the 2018-2019 season, 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, 2019.
With Martin Fehervary likely making the jump to the Capitals as soon as play resumes in the NHL, there is a spot that Geisser could potentially battle for in Hershey this fall. With the exception of Martin Hugo Has, the defensive corp will likely see no new faces this fall. However, Lucas Johansen and/or Connor Hobbs could also be battling for that spot, should they re-sign with the Capitals organization.
If Geisser does not return to Hershey next season, he will likely be loaned to EV Zug once again.
By Jon Sorensen