The Vancouver Canucks are slated to pick 15th as they stayed put after the NHL Draft Lottery on Tuesday. This will be the first time in their history that they will select 15th overall, and if they keep the pick, the first time they will be picking in the first round since the 2019 NHL Draft. While there will be plenty of talent available, they should select Conor Geekie of the Winnipeg ICE, if he is not selected beforehand that is.
Conor Geekie Scouting Report
Geekie is a big playmaking center with high offensive upside. This season with the Winnipeg ICE of the Western Hockey League (WHL), he scored 24 goals and 70 points in 63 games. He was also invited to the CHL Top Prospects Game and helped Team White secure a 3-1 victory.
Just like his brother Morgan, who plays for the Seattle Kraken, Conor is all about offence. His biggest strength is his playmaking ability, highlighted by his 46 assists this season, while also possessing a strong shot. He has great size at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds but what really sticks out is his ability to read the play. Not only can he predict where his teammates are going to be, his elite playmaking allows him to hit them in stride with passes and create scoring chances.
Related: THW 2022 NHL Draft Guide
Why Canuck fans should be excited about Geekie is that he has shown improvements throughout the season. This is a player who is always looking to improve his game and isn’t satisfied with just being okay. One area he has improved on is shooting the puck. Not necessarily his actual shot, but getting it off rather than looking for a pass. Instead of looking for the perfect shot, he is getting the puck towards the net, which is a big reason Winnipeg has 42 goals in their first eight playoff games.
While there is a lot to be excited about when it comes to Geekie, he does have some areas he needs to improve on. His skating is a problem, and he needs to improve his overall game. While his defensive game should improve with another season in the WHL, the skating part could be concerning.
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The good news is the last time the Canucks selected a first-round, big center who had questionable skating was Bo Horvat, and that seems to have worked out well. Not saying he will become the same player as the current Canucks captain, but it may be best to hold off on reservations about his skating for the next few seasons as he becomes stronger and more comfortable with his size.
Geekie’s Fit on the Canucks
The Canucks need a lot of pieces, but high-end offensive talent is definitely near the top of the list. When diving into Vancouver’s prospect pool, there is not a lot there, especially at center. If the Canucks select Geekie at 15, he would jump to the top of the prospect list and help them re-fill a pool that has been drained with most of the top prospects already in the NHL.
Geekie is most likely not going to make the jump right away to the NHL but has the potential to be a top-six forward for a long time. The reason is his hockey IQ and ability to read defences. As mentioned, the rest of the intangibles will come with conditioning and time but his playmaking ability is something that is very hard to teach and may already be close to NHL-level.
Canucks Need to Take Best Player Available
As mentioned, the Canucks do have other needs such as a right-shot defenceman, but based on this year’s group of prospects, they need to select the best player available with the 15th pick. If he is available, that player is Geekie. If they select him, it will be a good first step in ensuring their forward group has some stability in the future.