In anticipation of the Seattle Kraken‘s inaugural season, we at The Hockey Writers are taking a deep dive into every participant. This installment focuses on middle Morgan Geekie, whom the Kraken selected from the Carolina Hurricanes within the 2021 NHL Enlargement Draft.
The 23-year-old Geekie has appeared in simply 38 NHL video games however has proven indicators of changing into, no less than, a dependable bottom-six middle. He excels in entrance of the online and scores off both deflections or second-chance alternatives. The 67th-overall choice from the 2017 Draft has one yr remaining on his entry-level deal at $750,000.
2020-21 Group: Carolina Hurricanes
2020-21 Season: 36 GP, 3 G, 6 A, 9 PTS
Kind of Acquisition: Enlargement Draft
Geekie has the talent set of an influence ahead. After taking a faceoff, he rapidly positions himself within the excessive slot or nearer to the online, using his 6-foot-3, 192-pound body. His agile stick-handling can maneuver the puck into a snug taking pictures place, after which he picks his spot. He additionally excels at corralling rebounds and deflecting the puck, confidently making use of his backhand. With these skills at each even-strength and on the ability play, I liken Geekie to Joe Pavelski of the Dallas Stars.
Right here’s how he reached the NHL.
Geekie performed main junior hockey in jap Washington with the Tri-Metropolis Individuals of the Western Hockey League (WHL). He developed slowly at first, scoring simply 25 factors in his first full season. Due to his lackluster productivity and skating abilities early on, NHL golf equipment handed on him on the 2016 Draft.
Nonetheless, he broke out the next season in 2016-17 and wrapped up his WHL profession strongly in 2017-18 with 65 targets and 109 assists in 140 video games; he led the membership in each seasons.
The Individuals certified for the 2018 Playoffs as a wildcard, and so they leaned on Geekie to drag off a few upsets. The Strathclair, Manitoba native surged for 17 targets and 10 assists in simply 14 video games, serving to the group advance to the Western Convention Remaining, the place they fell to Participant of the Yr, Carter Hart, and the top-seeded Everett Silvertips in six video games.
Geekie continued to blossom with the Hurricanes group in his time with the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League (AHL). Within the 2018-19 season, he recorded 19 targets and 27 assists for 46 factors in 73 video games — together with a stellar 20.4 p.c taking pictures share. Once more he elevated his recreation within the postseason and scored eight targets and 10 assists in 19 video games, serving to the Checkers seize their first Calder Cup.
He adopted up a formidable debut season in Charlotte with 22 targets and 20 assists in 55 video games in the course of the 2019-20 season. He additionally led the group with eight power-play targets and added 9 power-play assists. The AHL didn’t host the playoffs in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
NHL Profession: Carolina Hurricanes
Geekie made some of the spectacular NHL debuts in latest historical past when he appeared in a March 7, 2020 recreation in opposition to the Pittsburgh Penguins. In 10:22 of ice time, he scored two targets and an help — which was almost a 3rd objective — to information the Hurricanes to a 6-2 win.
He adopted up that unprecedented efficiency by scoring a objective in his second recreation. Sadly, he couldn’t construct on that momentum as a result of, just like the AHL, the NHL paused its season because of the pandemic. He later appeared in eight postseason video games, registering a single help.
Geekie performed in 36 of 56 video games in the course of the 2020-21 season in a fourth-line position. Averaging simply 9:47 of ice time (TOI), he recorded three targets and 6 assists, and 30 pictures on objective. That mentioned, he gained 52.5 p.c of his faceoffs (74 gained, 67 misplaced) and was defensively dependable; whereas he was on the ice, Hurricanes goaltenders saved 92.9 p.c of pictures.
His greatest recreation of the season got here on March 11 versus the Nashville Predators when he scored two power-play targets — his solely two pictures of the sport — and gained 12 of 15 faceoffs to assist the Hurricanes triumph, 5-1. His greatest offensive stretch final season was in seven video games between April 17 and 27, when he registered 5 factors and a plus-4 ranking. He additionally appeared in three playoff video games, averaging simply 6:40 TOI on a deep Hurricanes group, and didn’t report some extent.
How Geekie Matches With the Kraken
When it got here to the growth draft, I anticipated Kraken common supervisor Ron Francis to pick one other draft choose from his time with the Hurricanes, defenseman Jake Bean — though he was a restricted free agent. Francis additionally handed up middle-six standout Nino Niederreiter and alternate captain Jordan Martinook on the Hurricanes. With Geekie, he chosen a ahead who has thrived in a number of ranges of aggressive play however has but to earn the identical alternative within the NHL.
With Yanni Gourde lacking the beginning of the 2021-22 season, the Kraken are skinny at middle. Nonetheless, they’ve a handful of hybrid forwards who can both play on the wing or at middle, together with Geekie (from ‘Kraken mailbag: Answering your questions on middle depth, playoff aspirations, vaccine necessities and extra,’ The Seattle Instances, 8/6/21).
There’s a transparent cut-off between the Kraken’s forwards who belong on the primary three strains and those that will compete for a fourth-line spot. Center-six forwards like Marcus Johansson, Jared McCann, and Mason Appleton are confirmed of their roles, whereas the remaining forwards have every performed underneath 100 NHL video games.
Together with Geekie, depth forwards Colin Blackwell, Nathan Bastian, and Alexander True will in all probability vie for a fourth-line position. All of them can play middle, leaving somebody like Geekie with the choice of shifting to the right-wing. A few different forwards, together with Kole Lind and Carsen Twarynski, may compete for a fourth-line roster spot.
At 23 years previous, Geekie has a talent set that the Hurricanes didn’t absolutely make the most of, which doubtless made him interesting to his former common supervisor. Specifically, Geekie has confirmed that he performs greatest when it issues most, excelling in two prolonged playoff runs within the WHL and AHL.
He might not land a spot within the middle-six this season, however with a number of gamers underneath contract for lower than two years, he might have an opportunity to stay round and develop right into a third-line middle or winger and be a lock for such a task.
We at THW have lots extra “Meet the Kraken” articles in retailer for you, so make sure you examine again for the most recent participant profiles. We additionally plan to mission ahead strains, defensive pairings, and particular groups models earlier than the beginning of the season.
Nick covers the Seattle Kraken for THW. At his alma mater, Santa Clara College, he served as sports activities editor for the campus newspaper however carved out time to cheer on his San Jose Sharks close by. His skilled expertise spans reporting, copywriting, and video manufacturing for sports activities, gaming, and tech manufacturers.