Morgan Geekie looking to take next career step with Bruins

When a participant has the kind of season Morgan Geekie had for the shocking Seattle Kraken as a fourth-line middle final yr, he might normally count on to get a modest bump in pay.

Instead, the Kraken made Geekie a free agent, declining to provide the restricted free agent a qualifying provide.

That is extra of a press release on what the monetary panorama within the NHL final summer season was than what the 25-year-old can convey as a participant. You solely have to have a look at the Bruins’ coaching camp roster to see that, with established NHLers Danton Heinen and Alex Chiasson right here on PTOs, whereas Jesper Boqvist, who signed a one-year cope with the B’s, was made a free agent when the New Jersey Devils didn’t tender him a qualifying provide.

It was nonetheless a shock for a participant like Geekie, whose profession gave the impression to be on an upward trajectory.

“I found out on Twitter, so that’s how I found about that,” mentioned Geekie on Friday with a wry smile. “But it is what it is. At the end of the day, it’s a business. I enjoyed my time in Seattle, regardless of how it ended and I have lots of friends there. I have nothing but thanks to the organization for giving me the opportunity in the expansion draft (from Carolina). I’m excited to get started here and that’s in the rear view mirror. But it was definitely something where I was happy to be a part of for a couple of years there.”

So Geekie goes from enjoying for the staff in it’s first yr of existence in Seattle two years in the past to 1 coming into its a hundredth season with the B’s. And he did get that elevate in spite of everything. After making $1.4 million final season in Seattle, Geekie signed a two-year deal price $2 million a season, the largest deal the cash-strapped B’s have been capable of dish out final summer season.

“There’s just an aura about this organization with it being an Original Six team, too, is something you dream of as a kid,” mentioned Geekie. “They’re part of that group of teams that you want to be a part of and they’re tough to play against. I’m super excited to be a part of it here and just fill in the gaps and try and do what I can for this organization.”

Geekie is a vital cog for the B’s for the upcoming season. They misplaced three of their 4 facilities from final yr, with Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci retiring and Tomas Nosek signing in New Jersey. And it seems as if Geekie will likely be requested to climb a rung within the lineup to middle a 3rd line, behind Pavel Zacha and Charlie Coyle.

While Jim Montgomery believes Geekie’s greatest problem will likely be in how the staff transitions to offense, the coach believes Geekie will likely be superb within the defensive finish, because the Kraken had performed a variation of a zone protection just like the B’s. Geekie sounded assured that the defensive zone wouldn’t be an issue.

“There’s a couple things that are a little different, just a couple of switches, but I think that’s the same with most things. It’s just a little bit different. But it’s nice to have a little bit of familiarity with that and it makes the transition a little bit easier,” mentioned Geekie, who has been skating with Trent Frederic in camp.

Montgomery likes how Geekie thinks the sport.

“I just know that his best traits are his competitiveness and his hockey sense. He’s got a real good brain for the game,” mentioned Montgomery. “I think that’s a great place to start. I think those are the two most important pieces. And he’s got size (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) and he’s got soft hands. So that’s what we’ve seen. Now we’re going to get into situations where we see how quickly he applies what we’re teaching and becomes a fast player for us within our systems.”

One factor Geekie might want to enhance on from final yr, when he had 9-19-28 totals in 69 video games whereas averaging underneath 11 minutes for the Kraken, is faceoffs. For the primary time in his younger profession, he completed slightly below water on attracts with a 49.2%. The yr earlier than, he was at 52.2% for the Kraken.

“Faceoffs are something I take pride in,” mentioned Geekie. “Last year was a little bit of a down year for me, percentage-wise, but I feel solid going into every draw. And every time you play Boston, you know they’re good in the circle and it’s something they take pride in. It’s something I’m going to try to add to my game and keep getting better. There’s a lot of guys I can learn from here, both past and present. So I’ll try to take advantage of all the opportunities I can when it comes to faceoffs.”

Merkulov shines

Montgomery mentioned he favored Georgii Merkulov’s Day Two after being unimpressed together with his first day.

“I like the way he rebounded (Friday),” mentioned Montgomery. “He was so-so (on Thursday), I thought he was really good today. He was very evident. He was on top of pucks. I thought his pace of play was a lot better today and I thought that line (with Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen) in particular was pretty dominant with how many goals they scored.”

Heinen scored on a reasonably snap shot from excessive within the circle.

Youth is served

Expect a really younger squad when the B’s open up the preseason Sunday on the Garden towards the Rangers.

“You’re not going to see more than eight vets,” mentioned Montgomery. “We’re going to look at players who’ve have earned the right to have an opportunity to see what they have, to either extend their time or improve their position within the team.”