(Photo Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

By: Jason Cooke | Follow me on Twitter / X @cookejournalism

When the Boston Bruins signed free agent Morgan Geekie last July, the organization expected to add a consistent, two-way center to round out the roster’s bottom six. With the departure of long-time Bruins Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, the Black and Gold were yearning for any help they could get up the middle. After Geekie kickstarted his 2023-24 season with Boston with a 2-5-7 line in his first 20 games, it appeared the Bruins received precisely what they hoped for from their offseason acquisition.

The month of December has been a different story. In Geekie’s last seven games, he’s replicated a nearly identical stat line of 4-2-7 that took him a quarter of the season to accomplish when he first arrived in Boston. Rising to a top-six role in head coach Jim Montgomery’s depth charts, most recently between Pavel Zacha and David Pastrnak, the 25-year-old has emerged as one of the team’s key offensive contributors.

A third-round pick in the 2017 National Hockey League Draft, Geekie was initially selected by the Carolina Hurricanes with the 67th overall selection. After making his NHL debut in the 2019-20 season, he suited up for 36 games the following year with Carolina before being selected by the Seattle Kraken in the 2021 Expansion Draft. Last season, Geekie posted 9-19-28 with Seattle for a career-best performance, solidifying himself as a respected player around the league.

So far for the Bruins, he’s been a spark amongst a rollercoaster of an offense throughout Boston’s 20-7-6 season that ended a four-game skid last night against the Buffalo Sabres. In the 4-1 win, Geekie scored his sixth goal of the season to provide the Bruins with a 4-0 lead in the second period. While it wasn’t flashy, the 6’3″ forward was in the right place at the right time, converting a rebound at the goal line for an easy score on the power play.

In the win, Geekie was slotted to a first-line center role between offensive juggernauts Zacha and Pastrnak in Zacha’s first look on the wing all season to light an offensive spark to the lineup. The trio has only skated three games together as linemates this season with Zacha in the middle, which could change moving forward with Geekie at center. For Montgomery, it’s all about activating Zacha and Pastrnak in the offensive zone.

“Probably stay with it (and) see what it looks like in practice,” Montgomery said of possibly keeping the line together. “It gives us a right shot and a left shot (and) allows them to take offensive zone faceoffs on both sides to run plays.”

Whether or not Wednesday’s line comes to fruition, Geekie has made his impact alongside another pairing of forwards this season with Brad Marchand and Pastrnak. In ten games played together, that trio ranks first on the team in expected goals percentage at 88.9%. He is also a part of the highest-ranking line for expected goals for 60 minutes at 6.88 with James van Riemsdyk and Jake DeBrusk; regardless of who he is playing with, Geekie is at the nucleus of the majority of Boston’s recent offense.

As the Bruins hope to find their winning ways as the New Year approaches, Geekie will continue to be called on to support a somewhat inconsistent top-six. Just 27 games into his career as a Bruin, he’s already showcased his knack for scoring goals and flexibility in a constantly evolving line chart while on pace for a career-best season. However, we’ve witnessed many players go cold just as quickly, such as Charlie Coyle, who snapped a six-game point drought on Wednesday after his own hot start. For the Bruins, it will all be about balance as the season rolls onward, and as long as someone like Geekie can step up to take the weight off the shoulders of Pastrnak and Zacha, Boston should find themselves in a comfortable spot come playoff time.