Mason Geertsen: A Leader in the Making


Mason Geertsen was widely unknown, when the Colorado Avalanche decided to select him in the fourth round (93rd overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft. Since then, the Vancouver Giants’ captain has made a giant leap, and is now one of the Avalanche’s most promising prospects.

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The 6-foot-4 defenseman didn’t have an easy start into his career. Geertsen started his junior career with the Edmonton Oil Kings — a good team for sure, but also one that had lots of talented players. Because of that, it was tough for the Rocky Rapids, Alberta native to get the ice time you desperately need as a developing player.

Luckily, the Oil Kings traded Geertsen to the Vancouver Giants. The Giants were much less successful, making the playoffs only once during Geertsen’s three-year tenure with the team. However, the important part was a different one here. In Vancouver, Geertsen could develop into a much better player and a leader.

Mason Geertsen: Creating a Leader

After three years as the teams assistant captain, Geertsen was named captain late in the 2014-15 season, after Dalton Sward’s season was ended prematurely due to injury. For Geertsen, it wasn’t a big step, but definitely an important one in his development. In a Q&A with the Avs’ Ryan Boulding, Geertsen said the following.

"It was a pretty good experience for me. I had been an assistant captain there for three years, so it wasn’t too big of a jump. But it was definitely a good honor, and I felt responsible for the whole team and how the season went, I guess. It’s hard to be a leader when your team is struggling. You don’t want to do too much or do too little. It has to be a good in-between. So it was nice trying to figure out that happy medium between when to be too hard or not doing anything."

In addition to that, Mason Geertsen was named MVP of the 2014-15 campaign — another honor that gives confidence. Joining the pros is never easy, but coming in as your junior team’s captain and MVP at least makes it easier.

Mason Geertsen May Have Surpassed Duncan Siemens

Since the Giants missed the postseason once again, Geertsen was available to join the Lake Erie Monsters late in the season. After sitting out the first two games, he appeared in nine contests, but went scoreless and was a minus-3. Not a perfect start, but it could have been worse.

Mason Geertsen is a defense-first kind of player. His focus is on being solid in his own zone, before trying to do things offensively. He shuts down the opposing players if necessary, and even drops the gloves every once in awhile. Defensively, his first games in the AHL were definitely convincing, and more is likely to come.

The goal was to stay on the preseason roster for as long as possible. Geertsen worked out a lot over the summer and says he has gained five pounds, which should help him play his intimidating style. Unfortunately for him, Geertsen was cut rather early — but that’s not the end of the world.

With Duncan Siemens cut before he even played a single preseason game, it seems likely that his time in Colorado may come to an end rather soon. That would mean that Geertsen would surpass Siemens on the left-D prospect depth chart, and slot in right behind OHL MVP Chris Bigras.

Mason Geertsen has worked on his weaknesses — especially his skating — in prospect camp and over the summer, and will continue to do so. His first professional season with the San Antonio Rampage will be huge for him. As of now, the only “tough guys”, who are regulars on the Avalanche roster, are Brad Stuart, Nate Guenin and Cody McLeod — in other words: a tough guy like Geertsen is something the Avalanche has been missing for quite some time, especially on defense.

So, if he keeps taking huge strides, we may see him in Colorado within the next couple of seasons. Once he has made it there, you shouldn’t be surprised if he develops into a defensive force and a big-time leader.

Next: Is Zadorov Right for the Avalanche?

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