We continue the top 10 of our list with the first player who’s a very safe bet to at least see time with the Hurricanes this season, if not be an NHL regular. Since being selected by Carolina in the third round of the 2017 draft, it’s been a relatively quick ascension for Geekie to the NHL ranks.
Geekie was a prolific scorer for the Tri-City Americans in the WHL in his draft year, putting up a whopping 35 goals and 90 points in 72 games. After the Hurricanes picked him, he returned to Tri-City for one more season with a similar output.
In his first year of AHL eligibility in the 2018-19 season, Geekie made an immediate impact with the Charlotte Checkers. As a rookie, Geekie posted 19 goals and 46 points in 73 games, finishing fifth in scoring on a loaded Checkers team.
Then, in the first professional postseason of his career, Geekie was a key contributor in the Checkers’ run to the Calder Cup Championship that spring. He scored eight goals and finished second on the team with 18 points in 19 playoff games, setting the bar high for himself going into the next season. And he was up to the task.
While the Checkers lost some players and took a step back last season, Geekie took a big step forward and remained a vital presence, finishing third on the team with 22 goals and third with 42 points despite playing just 55 games before earning a late (very late, as it all turned out) regular-season call up with the Hurricanes.
By now, everyone’s heard the story of Geekie’s NHL debut, as he burst onto the scene with two goals and an assist in his first game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, then adding a goal against the Red Wings in the final game before the NHL’s pause. With no regular-season games since then, Geekie remains at two points per game played, ranking him first all time ahead of a fellow named Wayne Gretzky.
More than Geekie’s small-sample accolades, however, he showed he belonged. Geekie is an ideal fit for the bottom six as a big-bodied (6-foot-3, 192 pounds), physical forward who can play a strong two-way game and chip in some offense.
Geekie earned a roster spot in camp when the NHL returned to play going into the bubble, and played in all eight of the Hurricanes’ playoff games, notching an assist.
Going forward, that hard-nosed, two-way playing style should serve him well in a bottom-six role. He’ll have to earn his spot in camp again for the upcoming regular season, as the Hurricanes come in with 13 NHL-caliber forwards, Geekie included.
Projecting out down the road, Geekie’s ideal role is probably that of a fourth-line center, though it’s not hard to see him as a third-line player if his game continues to develop. If Geekie can earn a spot in camp, he’s likely to play a role as the Canes’ fourth center behind Sebastian Aho, Vincent Trocheck and Jordan Staal.
It’s a contract year for Geekie, but he’ll be an RFA and should figure into the Hurricanes’ future plans if he keeps building on his impressive debut. Geekie’s combination of physical, two-way play and scoring touch make him an ideal bottom-six forward, and he should be able to carve out a role there for years to come.