The Washington Capitals announced this morning that two of their prospects, who appeared likely to start next season with the Hershey Bears, have been loaned to Swiss National League teams to begin the year.
Damien Riat has been loaned to Geneve-Servette and Tobias Geisser will join EV Zug.
According to Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan, the moves were made to “to begin the 2020-21 hockey season” and the Capitals are planning to “recall both players to North America when the organization’s 2020-21 training camps open.”
The loans are likely due to the realities of the coronavirus pandemic and to keep Riat and Geisser skating and developing with teams they are familiar with and have played with before. The National League’s preseason begins on August 6.
Meanwhile, the start date of NHL training camp for the 2020-21 season has already been pushed back several months due to the pause in the current season and it’s unclear when it will happen.
“We’re going to finish 2019-20 in probably early October,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman recently said. “From our standpoint, there’s no rush (to start next season). We intend to play a full 2020-21 season and if we start in late November or December, that’s okay. We’re now demonstrating that the calendar may be irrelevant.”
More from the Capitals:
Capitals Loan Damien Riat and Tobias Geisser
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have loaned Damien Riat to the Geneve-Servette Hockey Club of the Swiss National League and Tobias Geisser to EV Zug of the Swiss National League to begin the 2020-21 hockey season, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today. It is expected that the Capitals will recall both players to North America when the organization’s 2020-21 training camps open.
The Capitals selected Riat with their fourth-round pick, 117th overall, in the 2016 NHL Draft.
Riat, 23, recorded 22 points (11g, 11a) in 36 games with EHC Biel-Bienne in the National League in Switzerland this season. The 6’0”, 180-pound forward led EHC Biel-Bienne in penalty minutes (57) and ranked fifth on the team in goals. In 223 career games in the National League, Riat has recorded 106 points (50g, 56a).
The Capitals selected Geisser with their fourth-round pick, 120th overall, in the 2017 NHL Draft.
Geisser, 21, appeared in seven games for the Hershey Bears this year (AHL) and 25 for EV Zug, recording two assists. The 6’4”, 201-pound defenseman has appeared in 77 career games in the National League, recording nine points (2g, 7a).
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