From the Carolina Hurricanes, the Seattle Kraken have selected forward Morgan Geekie at the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft.
Geekie was somewhat of a late bloomer in juniors, struggling in his first season with the Tri-City Americans, which was also his first year of draft eligibility. Question marks about his skating ability and his unimpressive 25 points in 66 games led him to be passed over entirely during the 2016 draft. That summer, he would drastically improve his skating and overall game — leading to a massive breakouts season in 2016-17. He would lead the Americans in points, with 90, proving to be a dominant power-forward at the WHL level. The Hurricanes liked what they saw and selected him in the 3rd round of the 2017 draft.
He would return to the WHL for the 2017-18 season, picking up right where he left off, leading the team in points once again with 84 in 68 games. Despite scoring six fewer points in this season, he made massive strides in his overall game. He was dominant in all three zones, proficient in the faceoff circle, and one of the league’s best offense drivers. His season would come to a disappointing end, losing to the Everett Silvertips in six games. This capped off a fantastic junior career that saw him post 202 points in 216 regular-season games.
Professional Career So Far
Geekie wasted no time establishing himself in the American Hockey League, joining a stacked Charlotte Checkers lineup for the 2018-19 season. He put together a solid rookie season that saw him grab 46 points in 73 regular-season games. However, it was in the playoffs that he truly shined. The rookie would finish second on the team in points, with 18 in 19 games, as Charlotte went on to win the Calder Cup. He was hoping to build upon his good rookie season in the AHL heading into the 2019-20 season and he did exactly that.
In 2019-20 he proved to be a top-end AHL center, posting 42 points in 55 games, while also being a dependable two-way player. His stellar play earned him 2 games in the NHL that season, where he would impress picking up three goals and one assist during the two games. He was beginning to pick up a head of steam at this point and was expecting to be a full-time NHLer in 2020-21.
He would indeed earn his role on the Hurricanes roster, featuring in 36 games during the 2020-21 season. It wasn’t a perfect season for him, as he bounced around from the team’s NHL roster to the Taxi Squad. However, he only spent 2 games in the AHL, where he dominated with five points in two games, so that was an improvement.
Struggles to have an impact 5v5 and an inability to score goals away from the front of the net did hamper him offensively in his first full NHL season. He did excel in the faceoff circle, winning 52.5% of his faceoffs and posted decent defensive metrics, so it was still a solid rookie season. As the tweet from JFreshHockey above points out, Geekie has good shot at becoming a full-time NHLer in the next couple of years. His size, defensive work, and faceoff ability should allow him to stay in the NHL as, at least, a bottom-six forward.
Geekie is currently signed through the 2021-22 NHL season with an AAV of $750,000. If he can translate more of the offense he produced in the AHL at the NHL level, Seattle will have excellent value in his contract. If he can’t, they’re getting exactly what they’re paying for, a bottom-six, defensive forward.
What Seattle Fans Should Expect
Seattle fans should expect, a big-bodied center, who is proficient in the faceoff circle and can play a solid defensive game. An elevated role in Seattle could lead to Geekie finding the scoring touch he showed at the AHL level. If he can find that offense — expect a classic power forward, who loves taking the puck wide before driving to the net and someone who excels at picking up scraps in front of the net. If given a role on Seattle’s power play, he can play the front of the net well, as he is hard to move and displays decent hands in and around the net.
I would be happy with this pick if I was a Seattle fan. He isn’t a flashy pick by any means; however, he will certainly fill a role on the team’s bottom-six and has plenty of offensive upside. He was a late bloomer offensively in juniors and might be the same in the NHL. If Seattle has an abundance of players who exceed expectations, as the Vegas Golden Knights did in their inaugural season, I expect Geekie to be one of the players that surprises everyone.
Notable Players Not Selected
My name is Austin Stanovich, as a lifelong player and fan I’m hoping to bring my own unique perspective on the hockey world, specifically covering the Los Angeles Kings. As a SoCal native I grew up a Kings fan, and after graduating from Long Beach State in 2020 I’ve joined The Hockey Writers crew as a columnist for the Kings.