Seattle Kraken have their 1st breakout candidate in Morgan Geekie
Seattle Kraken center Morgan Geekie made his mark during the team’s inaugural game Tuesday night in Las Vegas.
With Seattle trailing by one, Geekie scored his first goal of the season 7:58 into the third period to complete a comeback in which the Kraken scored three unanswered goals to get even at 3-3.
It was a great goal from the 23 year old, who fired a wrist shot that was too much for Golden Knights goalie Robin Lehner to handle. It was a big moment for Geekie and the franchise.
“It was kind of a broken play and I just seemed to be in the right spot to pick that puck up,” Geekie said. “I was just lucky enough to get a shot away and put it in there.”
— Seattle Kraken (@SeattleKraken) October 13, 2021
Seattle is hoping that Geekie can continue to make a mark with a breakout season offensively and provide some much-needed secondary scoring for the Kraken. He’s off to a strong start, but it wasn’t just the goal that was memorable.
In the excitement immediately after the goal, Geekie gave his stick a twirl and hugged his teammates – pretty standard goal celebration as seen around the league night after night. Somehow, though, it rankled the feathers of Vegas captain Mark Stone.
“The guy kind of did a little stick twirl and stared the bench down, so it kind of got our line fired up,” Stone said after the game.
Nobody has seen video evidence showing exactly what “the guy’s” crime against hockey etiquette was. He twirled his stick after scoring against Vancouver in the Kraken’s first preseason game, as well, but the Canucks took no offense.
“I think he has a friend and a buddy that plays for Vegas that he might have looked up at briefly,” Seattle head coach Dave Hakstol said. “I looked at it on tape to try and confirm or see it and there’s really nothing there.”
The player in question likely may have been Vegas defenseman Dylan Coughlan, whom Geekie played with during their time with the Tri-City Americans.
Vegas would score on the next shift when a puck was directed in the Seattle goal by the skate of Chandler Stephenson. Was Stephenson “fired up” to score a fluky goal? We’ll never know, but the incident could be the makings of a budding rivalry.
The Kraken have pushed Vancouver as a natural rival thanks to geography, but true rivalries are born on the ice and Geekie may have unintentionally helped start a Golden Knights-Kraken beef.
Whether he’s a lynchpin to hatred with Vegas remains to be seen, but Geekie is an important player to watch because of his offense and goal scoring. He could end up as one of the best pickups the Kraken made in their expansion draft.
Just who is Morgan Geekie?
Western Hockey League fans in Washington are familiar with Geekie from his four full seasons in Kennewick, where he twice scored 30 goals or more for Tri-City. He was a member of the 2017-18 Americans team that made a deep playoff run to the Western Conference Championship series where they lost in six games to the Everett Silvertips.
Drafted by then Carolina Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis with the 67th overall pick in the third round of the 2017 NHL Draft , Geekie would begin his pro career with the American Hockey League’s Charlotte Checkers in 2018.
He adapted to the pro game quickly, scoring 19 goals and 46 points for the Checkers in what turned out to be a Calder Cup-winning season. He scored 22 times the next year, leading to a call-up by the Hurricanes. Like with Seattle, he made an impression early, scoring twice in his first NHL game.
— Mary Mae Gates (@marymaeg) October 13, 2021
Last year he was stuck on the fourth line for a Hurricanes club loaded at forward. He was limited to nine minutes per game in a defensive role and as a result was limited to three goals with nine points in 36 games.
So far, he is getting a better look in Seattle playing in the middle six forward group, and after a strong training camp is off to a great start.
What does Geekie bring to the Seattle Kraken?
Seattle forward Yanni Gourde, who is coming off two Stanley Cup titles with Tampa Bay, played on a line with Geekie for a couple of days during training camp. Though Gourde had played against Geekie prior, he didn’t know much about playing with him.
“He’s got a great shot,” Gourde said to describe Geekie.
Geekie can shoot, and we all saw it Tuesday night. His goal that beat Lehner was brilliant both in placement and speed.
Shooting the puck has been a constant for Geekie. In the AHL he shot 20% during his rookie season and 17% in his second year. Those are impressive numbers, and even in his limited role with the Hurricanes last season he shot 10%. On Carolina’s fourth line, he averaged .83 shots per game. Playing just under 15 minutes Tuesday for the Kraken, he took three shots on goal. That pace with a 10% shooting would put him on track for 24 goals this year.
Geekie offers more than a great shot for the Kraken, though. Over his short career he’s won over 50% of the faceoffs he’s taken and is a positive puck possession player.
Naturally a center, Geekie has also played on the wing. He prefers to play in the middle but don’t be surprised if Hakstol deploys him up and down the lineup over the course of the season.
The Kraken need to get scoring beyond the top line of Jaden Schwartz, Jared McCann, and Jordan Eberle. They got it on Tuesday, and none bigger than Geekie’s shot that tied the game. That is a great sign, and stick twirls aside, Geekie will play a huge role for the Kraken moving forward.
More Seattle Kraken coverage from 710Sports.com
• Mike Salk’s Observations: The good and bad from Kraken’s opener
• Brandon Gustafson: Despite debut loss, Kraken look like they will win fans over
• Andy Eide’s Kraken Season Preview: Three things to watch
• ESPN’s John Buccigross: Why Kraken have a great shot at playoffs
• Seattle Kraken announcer John Forslund’s preseason standouts
• Mike Lefko: How close is Yanni Gourde, potential face of the Kraken, to debut?
• Maura Dooley: Three Kraken players who will set the tone for their style of play