Mason Geertsen: Prospect Camp Veteran


The Colorado Avalanche selected defenseman Mason Geertsen with their 93rd-overall draft pick in 2013. Since then, Geertsen has attended prospect camp three times and rookie camp twice — though potentially he will attend rookie camp again this season.

As a fresh-faced 18-year-old, Geertsen spoke with reporters in the midst of his first rookie camp. At that time, Geertsen talked about being nervous. “It was a big eye opener — I didn’t really know what to expect.”

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Naturally, one of the biggest eye openers was how fast even rookie NHL hockey is. “It’s definitely a lot faster than major juniors,” Geertsen admitted.

However, as he got his skating legs — and his high altitude lungs — Geertsen started feeling better. By the end of his first rookie camp, Geertsen knew he still had room for improvement. “I’m good, but I can be a lot better.”

Mason Geertsen went on to return to the major juniors to play for the WHL Vancouver Giants. He was also named an alternate captain of the team. In the 2013-14 season with the Giants, Geertsen scored only four goals — he is, after all, a defenseman of the shutdown variety — but racked up an impressive 126 penalty minutes.

Here’s an example of the types of action that helped Geertsen rack up the penalty minutes:

Not a bad little scrap.

Mason Geertsen returned to Colorado for both the 2014 prospect and rookie camps. Still a fresh-faced teen, Geertsen was already starting to show that he knew his way around an NHL locker room. He admitted that he had felt “lots of nerves” in his first year. His increased comfort level let him start to become a sponge as he says he asked “lots of questions.”

It was also obvious that, despite the fact Geertsen wasn’t even in the Avalanche organization yet, he was well-versed in the team’s “even keel” mentality. When asked if he was gunning for a roster spot, Geertsen responded, “I’m not really thinking about that right now. I’m just going to take it day by day.”

Geertsen, of course, returned to his Vancouver Giants. Another year as alternate captain, and Geertsen cut back on penalty minutes some — “only” 107 — but tripled his goal production to 13.

Here’s Mason Geertsen delivering a one-timer to score an overtime goal:

He was still big on scraps, though. Here’s a pretty epic battle in which he participated:

At the conclusion of the Giants’ season this year, he signed an entry level contract with the Colorado Avalanche. He joined the Lake Erie Monsters for nine games.

Mason Geertsen spoke with reporters after this year’s prospect camp. He’s still young-faced, but you start to see some maturity in his features. (There’s even a sprout of whiskers!) In any case, Geertsen seems a lot more focused. He spoke at length about the power skating drills he and the other prospects participated in with skating coach Tracy Tutton.

Geertsen likes what he’s learning. He stated that whether it’s the power skating he learned with Tutton or the nutrition lessons all young prospects get, it’s helpful to take that back to his summer training.

Here’s some video I took of Geertsen working on something that’s very important for defensemen — skating backwards:

Naturally, Mason Geertsen loved turning pro. However, where once he remarked that the next level up of hockey was faster, now he had a different observation:

"“It was definitely interesting. Coming from junior, where I was one of the bigger guys out there, I could kind of push people around. Going to [the AHL] was kind of a step back. I was like ‘Holy, I’ve got to work on some stuff’.”"

Geertsen will likely attend rookie camp again and almost certainly participate in his third training camp. While it’s expected he’ll report to the San Antonio Rampage for next season, I’m willing to bet he’s going to make more of a splash now that he’s such a camp veteran.

Next: JT Compher, aka Captain Cool

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