Update: The pick is officially in, and the Kraken did indeed select Geekie.
We didn’t have to actually wait until tonight’s NHL Expansion Draft coverage to learn... well... every single pick that the Seattle Kraken organization was going to make.
Amidst the spree of leaked expansion draft picks late this morning into the early afternoon, Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff reported that the Kraken selected forward Morgan Geekie in the Expansion Draft, passing on the likes Jake Bean and Nino Niederreiter in the process.
Another interesting development: A lot of lines were drawn between #Canes and #SeaKraken and who might Ron Francis select from a team who knows so well.— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) July 21, 2021
Sounds like the selection will be Morgan Geekie, a player he picked in 2017.@DFOHockey
This report was confirmed by Sara Civian and Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic. Civian added that no side-deal was struck between the teams. It was a clean, no-strings-attached selection.
Obviously @PierreVLeBrun’s report that the Kraken took Geekie over Bean is correct, and I’m also told there are no side deals involved.— Sara Civ (@SaraCivian) July 21, 2021
This selection came as a bit of a surprise. Most people expected the Kraken to choose Bean, the young offensive defenseman that Seattle general manager Ron Francis selected in the first round of the 2016 NHL Draft. Francis also selected Geekie, at the 2017 NHL Draft, his last draft as GM of the Carolina Hurricanes.
Geekie, 23, turned pro ahead of the 2018-19 season and instantly became an impact player for the Charlotte Checkers in the AHL before making his NHL debut in 2020 and becoming a full-time NHL roster player in 2021. In 38 career NHL regular-season games, he has scored six goals and has 13 total points while primarily skating in Carolina’s bottom six. He also appeared in three 2021 playoff games against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The restricted free agent was signed by the Canes to a one-year, two-way contract extension last week.
For the Hurricanes, this is an outcome that shouldn’t move the needle much. Over the last several drafts, the organization has made drafting forwards a priority, and as a result, their pipeline has skewed away from higher-upside defensemen. The hope here is that guys like Seth Jarvis, Jack Drury, and Ryan Suzuki, among others, are on the horizon as guys who could come up and fill roles as young, inexpensive NHLers to fill out a competitive roster.
The same can’t be said about the blue line. While I have plenty of reservations about Bean, losing him for nothing would have been a more detrimental outcome for the team given how their roster is currently constructed. There simply isn’t as much defensive depth within the organization.
They also avoided losing an impact top-nine forward like Niederreiter, who has a year remaining on his contract and is coming off of a 20-goal campaign in the shortened NHL regular season.
While Bean remains on the team, for the time being, his future with the club is still unclear. He is an RFA and had some very noticeable rough patches in his partial rookie season in the NHL. Only time will tell if he sticks as a part of this blue line or if he plays his hockey elsewhere, but the Canes now aren’t in jeopardy of losing a potentially valuable asset at a position of growing weakness for nothing.
The Seattle Expansion Draft selections will be made official during tonight’s coverage on ESPN2.