On March 23, the Washington Capitals signed prospect Shane Gersich to a two-year, entry-level contract. He played his NHL debut against the New York Rangers days later.
Wednesday, Capitals head coach Barry Trotz shared some insight on how he feels Gersich fits into the team’s future plans with the Sport Junkies on 106.7 The Fan.
“I think he’s got a really great future,” Trotz said to the Junkies. “Shane [Gersich] was a fifth-round draft choice. Played at the University of North Dakota. He’s not particularly big, but I think his skillset is set for the new NHL.”
In particular, Gersich’s speed was evident during his first game out as Capital, where he was one of the team’s best possession players.
“He’s got an abundance of speed, he’s got Jakub Vrána-type speed,” Trotz said. “I think he’s got a really good hockey I.Q. when it comes to the game, with and without the puck. I don’t think he’s quite as dynamic as Jakub [Vrána] is offensively, but his overall game really plays to the NHL style.”
Gersich impressed Trotz enough with his performance that he plans to play him in the Capitals two remaining regular season games — and, potentially, beyond that.
“I think he’s a guy that you’re going to see, probably in the next two games here,” Trotz said. “He’s a possible candidate for the playoffs.”
When it came down to Gersich’s style of play, he was reminiscent, for Trotz, of some of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ breakout youngsters. “He’s in the mold of a lot of the Penguins type of young forwards — the Bryan Rust, the Connor Sheary type guy.”
For the Capitals, and Trotz, Gersich is one part of a faster team, more in keeping with the trajectory that the NHL as a league is on.
“Our team has been notoriously a big team the last couple of years. The league has gotten quicker, probably a little bit smaller. So I think his game will fit, because we’ve been adding speed, obviously, with [Shane] Gersich, and [Jakub] Vrána, and [Chandler] Stephenson, to our lineup,” Trotz said. “We’ve actually gotten faster over the years, and gotten a little bit smaller. I think it fits better into the NHL where it is now.”
Headline photo: Bruce Bennett
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