Last Thursday the Carolina Hurricanes made official the signing of Tri-City Americans center and Strathclair, Manitoba native Morgan Geekie to a three-year entry-level contract.
The six-foot-two, 179 pound, 1998-born forward was picked in the third round, 67th overall in the 2017 NHL draft.
Geekie was thrilled to be able to officially become a part of the Carolina organization.
“It’s definitely exciting. It’s what you work for your whole life and so to get here, it’s something special. It’s one of those days that will always remember that’s for sure,” Geekie said.
Geekie was eligible for the 2016 NHL Draft, but found himself passed over after putting up 25 points in 66 games, his first full year in the WHL.
“It played a role, that’s for sure. – getting passed over that first year. Getting drafted was not something I was expecting but it still fueled me for the next year. I was just trying to perform that next year (2016-17) and be the best player I could be. Whether that was going to be end up with me being a drafted guy or wherever that would take me. I put in the hard work and hoped it would pay off somewhere down the road.”
Geekie broke out during the 2016-17 season and notched 90 points in 72 games. That was enough for him to get noticed and taken in the third round by Carolina.
Geekie played in four less games this year and put up 84 points as a 19-year-old, but had an incredible run in the WHL playoffs. He scored in each of his first nine playoff games as Tri-City – as the first wild card swept the B.C. Champion Kelowna Rockets and the Victoria Royals, sending them to the franchise’s first trip to the Western Conference final since 2012. Geekie ended up with 27 points in just 14 games.
“I don’t know if there is anything special that we did differently. We all knew going into the playoffs that we were a special team and we did what we needed to do out there but we were unfortunately banged up with some injuries most of the year. We ended up getting everyone back for the playoffs and things kind of clicked for us. We paid our dues as the year went on and it paid off in the playoffs.”
Geekie then went on to Charlotte, where he spent some time with Carolina’s AHL affiliate while they participated in the Calder Cup playoffs.
He was watching from the stands the night before he signed with Carolina as the Checkers played in the longest game in the AHL’s 82-year history. They fell to the Lehigh-Valley Phantoms 2-1 in five overtimes. That would put them down 3-1 in their best-of-seven series. They were eliminated in five games.
“We were watching, it was a long one that’s for sure.”
While Geekie is hoping to make the Hurricanes out of camp this fall, he has enjoyed his time with the Checkers – his likely team to start the 2018-19 season.
“It’s great. They have great personnel here and the group of guys they have is great. It’s something you can look forward to and use as a stepping stone. The organization is great though and I have learned a lot so far. I’ve only been here for a couple days and I’m just trying to take in everything now and carry it into next season.”
Geekie’s NHL club has gone through quite a transition recently with Thomas Dundon buying the majority stake in the team and Rod Brind’Amour taking over as coach and Don Waddell being named the new general manager.
“Anytime you get new faces, there’s always impressions to be made. When there is more than one, it plays a big factor. I’m not going to change too much though. I’m just going to go out there and play my game. I’ve gotten this far doing what I can do. I’m not going to put too much weight on it.
With him being signed to an entry-level contract, this likely means his time with the Tri-City Americans is over. He is a candidate to return as an overage candidate for the 2018-19 WHL season, but more than likely will be playing professionally. He’s had some time to look back on his 216 regular season games and 20 playoff games with the Ams and is appreciative with what they did for him.
“It was fantastic. I spent some of the best years of my life there. Being drafted as a 15-year-old and spending time there since I was 15, it’s a big part of my life now. I can’t thank (General Manager) Bob Tory and (Head Coach) Mike (Williamson) and (Associate Coach) Brian (Pellerin) enough for all they did. All the people behind the scenes – in the office have helped me grow along the way and become the hockey player that I am today.”