Next up in our annual prospect review and forecast series is Tobias Geisser, defenseman for the Hershey Bears. (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 23-year-old Swiss native has split time between the AHL and the NLA over the past four seasons. Geisser signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Capitals on March 22, 2018, for $774,444 AAV. He will become a 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 the age of 19, 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. He was also selected by Team Switzerland for the 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.
Geisser spent the 2020-21 season with EV Zug, and found consistent playing time in the top two pairs for the entire season. Offensively, Geisser recorded five goals and 17 assists in 50 regular season games and one goal and one assist in 13 postseason games, as EV Zug went on to win the Swiss League championship. In May, Geisser was selected to participate in the Swiss National teams preparation camp this offseason, and was slated to make the Swiss National team’s roster for the Olympics.
The 2021-22 season was another good development year for Geisser in Hershey. He played in 68 of 67 games, recording three goals and 10 assists, and showed solid improvement with his defensive assignments and overall play. Geisser also played in eight games for Team Switzerland in the World Championships. The Swiss blue liner has developed into one of the Bears’ most reliable defensive players.
2021-2022 MONTH-BY-MONTH RECAP AND TREND ANALYSIS
The following is a compilation of our month-by-month prospect reports for Tobias Geisser during the 2021-2022 season. You can find all of our monthly prospect reports on our “Prospects” page in the top menu.
Geisser spent last season playing for HC EV Zug in his native Switzerland and is still readjusting to the North American game, however, growth can be seen in his play, defensively. Geisser is more aware of his positioning than he was his last go around in Hershey, but wanders every now and then. The Swiss defender still needs to be stronger, as he gets bodied off the puck on occasion. Also, he sometimes gets caught flat footed and that leads to an attacking player bursting by him. Offensively, Geisser has one assist. It came in the October 17 game against Lehigh Valley when Mike Vecchione put home the rebound off his shot. The native of Stans, Switzerland is sometimes tentative on offense and occasionally hesitates with his shot. He still needs to gain confidence in that aspect of his game.
The Swiss born defender missed the last four games of the month with a lower body injury. Geisser was one of the Bears steadier defensemen at the time of his injury. This is because he knows who he is as a defenseman. He does not try to do too much and stays strong, positionally. Geisser is not a roamer.
On the offensive side, Geisser needs to shoot more. He often has open looks, but passes first. He recorded a single assist in the month and has two helpers on the season. He’s recorded just 20 shots in 13 games played so far this season.
Geisser finally broke the ice and scored his first AHL goal in the final game of 2021 on December 29. Geisser wristed a shot from the top of the left circle through a screen and over the glove of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goalie Alex D’Orio to open the scoring early in the second period. The goal was his second point of the month, as he picked up a secondary assist on Joe Snively’s first period goal on December 14.
— Jon Sorensen (@jon_m_sorensen) December 30, 2021
Geisser did have some issues defensively during the month. He had a backhanded clearing attempt intercepted by Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Chris Bigras late in the first period. The turnover led to Jordy Bellerive’s goal. A mistake late in the third period versus Rochester on December 19 led to the game-winning goal. On a delayed offside, Geisser had a free chance to clear the puck out of the zone. The play was to put the puck ahead of teammate Kody Clark in the neutral zone and allow him to skate to it. Geisser’s pass was behind Clark. The puck hit the linesman and Clark then got entangled with that linesman. This led to Peyton Krebs coming in all alone and potting the game winner. He has to eliminate these types of mistakes from his game to take the next step in his development.
Geisser saw his responsibilities increase as the month went along. His ice time increased due to a combination of improved play and necessity. With the exception of the January 23 game with Hartford, Geisser played strong, defensively, throughout the month. He has improved his positioning and he makes better decisions.
January was the best offensive month of Geisser’s AHL career. Geisser recorded the first two-point game of his AHL career with two helpers against Bridgeport on January 12. The second of those was a backhanded feed to Joe Snively that sent the game to overtime. Geisser was the third star of the game.
— Jon Sorensen (@jon_m_sorensen) January 26, 2022
Geisser would pot his second career goal on January 15th against the Toronto Marlies.
— Jon Sorensen (@jon_m_sorensen) January 16, 2022
The Stans, Switzerland native was a plus eight for the month to improve his season rating from a minus four to a plus four.
Geisser missed three games while in COVID protocol and missed another game after he came back to give him a chance to rebuild his strength. The Swiss defenseman skated in eight games in February. He was moved into a pairing with Dylan McIlrath and saw a lot of key minutes, defensively. The Stans, Switzerland native sees a lot of time on the penalty kill. He scored one goal, in the first period against Hartford on February 2, for his only point of the month.
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) February 3, 2022
Geisser has made great strides in his game this season and is arguably the most improved Hershey player.
The Swiss defender has seen a steady increase in responsibilities as the season has gone along. Geisser is a stay-at-home defenseman and has grown as a player. He is solid, positionally, and makes good decisions with the puck. The Stans, Switzerland native is a fixture on the penalty kill and has seen time along side Dylan McIlrath on the Hershey’s top defensive pairing.
Geisser does not provide much offense and has not recorded a point since February 2, but that is not his role on the blue line. His responsibilities are defensive and he does that well.
In a month where most Hershey players were minus players, Geisser ended April with a plus four rating. He was only a minus player in one game during the month. He was a plus eight on the season, the second-best rating among all Hershey defensemen. The Swiss blue liner has developed into one of the Bears’ most reliable defensive players.
Geisser is not flashy, but he understands who he is as a player. He does not try to force things. He plays strong, positionally and makes the smart pass. Geisser has become one of the team’s best penalty killers and can be depended on in tight defensive situations. Offensively, the native of Stans, Switzerland had three assists in April. Geisser finishes the campaign with three goals and 10 assists in 68 games.
The first thing that typically strikes me when assessing Geisser’s season is the amount of career experience the 23-year-old has already tucked under his belt. (Just glance at ElitePropsect’s table). As far is this past season, Geisser continues to get better and has become one of Hershey’s most trusted defenseman.
Geisser is slowly but surely evolving his North American game, and the good thing is, he’s still relatively young. He excelled in the Swiss rink sizes when he was home and now has dedicated himself to the North American game.
There is an outside shot that he makes things uncomfortable for Lucas Johansen and/or Alex Alexeyev during Capitals training camp this fall, but it’s more likely he will require one more season in the AHL. I’d expect to see his first callup to Washington this coming season and for him to be in the mix for a roster spot in September, 2023.
By Jon Sorensen
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