The Washington Capitals have decided to bring former second-round pick Jonas Siegenthaler back from Switzerland to join the Hershey Bears for the rest of the season. Siegenthaler had been playing with the Zurich Lions of the NLA this season, after splitting the year between them and Hershey last year. He signed an entry-level contract just days after being drafted in 2015.
Siegenthaler is a big, bruising defender that has been used by Zurich in a shutdown role since he was 17. His defensive acumen has never been in doubt, but as the NHL puts more and more focus on puck movement and offensive play from their blueliners he has fallen a bit behind the curve. Not an elite skater or passer, he could clearly help teams in their own end but will now have to learn how to make quick, effective breakouts in the North American game and build on his physical play. At 6’3, 230-lbs, he’s already easily big enough for the NHL but his game needs a lot of refinement in the minor leagues.
For the Capitals, who are likely losing both Karl Alzner and Kevin Shattenkirk to free agency and may have trouble fitting Dmitry Orlov and Nate Schmidt under the cap (and on the expansion draft list) long-term, defensemen like Siegenthaler will need to develop quickly in order to keep the system flowing upwards. Coming over to the AHL is a good step, and one that will let the organization keep closer tabs on his development.