By Andrew Bluestein | Follow Me On Twitter @adbblue
On the first day of NHL free agency, the Boston Bruins inked center Morgan Geekie to a two-year $4 million deal. Geekie will enter his fourth full NHL season after spending the last two with the Seattle Kraken. The 6’3 right shot center was primarily a fourth liner in Seattle, but now, with a fresh opportunity, he’d likely move up on the line chart.
The recent news of Patrice Bergeron retiring and David Krejci’s future still unknown makes it likely that Geekie will slot into the third-line center spot. This should mean the 25-year-old will see more ice time than he has previously. Last season he averaged just 10:27 of ice time per game. With this new opportunity in front of him, could we see the former Carolina Hurricanes third-round draft pick have a breakout season?
There are a few reasons why Geekie could have a breakout season with the Bruins. The likely increased role will give him more opportunity as his five-on-five ice time per game will increase, creating more potential scoring chances. Geekie will still have the luxury if in the third-line role, to go against other teams’ second and third defense pairing in most games which could be more matchup favorable. He could also play with new young players, allowing him to build chemistry in a role with higher offensive opportunities.
It is still unknown who his linemates will be going into this season, but there is a list of potential possibilities. We could see Jakub Lauko on his right wing, which would be an intriguing option considering Lauko showed flashes of offensive ability when he was in the lineup last season. Other possibilities on his wings could be several up-and-coming young players in the organization, such as Georgii Merkulov, Marc McgLaughin, or Fabian Lysell.
If that is the case, it could be a good fit of pace for Geekie, and it presents the opportunity to mesh young talent together. Currently, in arbitration with Boston, Trent Frederic is most likely to play with Geekie on the left wing. Frederic had his most productive season last year, and putting him with Geekie could propel both of them.
The driving reason Geekie could have a breakout season is he has shown he can produce points at every level. He played his junior hockey for the Tri-City Americans of the WHL and put up impressive numbers. In 218 games, he registered 79 goals and 125 assists for 204 points. He then joined Carolina’s AHL affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers, for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons, where he tallied a combined 41 goals and 47 assists for 88 points.
The Strathclair, Manitoba, Canada native cracked the Hurricanes roster in 2019-20 but only appeared in 38 games over two seasons. Ahead of the 2021-22 season, Seattle selected Geekie in the expansion draft, and he spent two seasons with the Kraken posting 50 combined points. Geekie was a key role player in the playoffs for Seattle last season and also added two goals and two assists in 13 games.
Now that Geekie will likely have a role that fits him as a player, he has the opportunity to take great strides and boost his point production resulting in a potential breakthrough at the NHL level. Sometimes the right place and opportunity do wonders for players who were previously not in the best situation for themselves, and we could see that unfold with Geekie in Boston.