Today’s entry in the ‘Back to School’ series heads north and west to check in on Morgan Geekie from the Tri-City Americanes in the Western Hockey League.
Morgan Geekie is one of the more interesting stories of the Hurricanes 2017 NHL Draft class. He was passed over in his first year eligible in the 2016 NHL Draft and then rose up all the way to the third round in the 2017 draft based on a massive scoring surge from 25 points in 66 games in 2015-16 up to 90 points in 72 games in 2016-17. Geekie is a forward who possesses the skill set of a scoring forward.
Interview with Mike Williamson, Head Coach of the Tri-City Americans
About the interviewee
Mike Williamson is one of the juggernauts of coaching in the WHL. He is one of just 7 coaches to ever reach the 500-win milestone in his career. He played in the WHL for the Portland Winterhawks from 1991-94 and then began his coaching career with the same team in the 1995-96 season. He served 5 years as assistant coach for the team before serving an additional 7 as their head coach. After that, he served as the Calgary Hitmen’s head coach for 5 years before coming to the Americans in 2014.
Interview on Hurricanes prospect Morgan Geekie
Canes and Coffee: Morgan Geekie saw a tremendous jump in his scoring from 2015-16 to 2016-17 which boosted him up the draft rankings. What was most significantly different/improved about Geekie’s game year over year?
Mike Williamson: Consistency and opportunity helped Morgan see a dramatic increase in his point production. In his first season, Morgan showed signs of being an impact player but played a smaller role and didn’t see as much ice time. In his second year, he came to camp focused and prepared to prove he could be an impact player and had a great camp. He earned more opportunities as a result and demonstrated that he could play at a high level on a consistent basis.
Canes and Coffee: What are Morgan Geekie’s strengths as a young player that give him the potential to one day play in the NHL?
Mike Williamson: Morgan has a great skill set in terms of puckhandling, shooting, and vision. He has good size and is continuing to put on weight and get stronger as well. His vision, poise, and hockey sense are traits that allow him be a top player at this level.
Canes and Coffee: What areas of Morgan Geekie’s game and skill set still have room for improvement as he works to round out his game and make it to the NHL?
Mike Williamson: Morgan needs to continue to get faster and become a more efficient skater. He will also need to be stronger to play at the NHL level.
Canes and Coffee: Is there anything else that Carolina Hurricanes fans would be interested to know about Morgan Geekie?
Mike Williamson: Morgan is a tremendous teammate and is very well liked in the dressing room. He is humble, respectful, and comes across as quiet but really opens up once he gets to know people and is comfortable. He is a great hockey player, and an even better person.
Interview with Aaron Piper from DUBNetwork
About the interviewee
Aaron Piper (Twitter=@aaronmpiper) is the DUBNetwork beat writer for the Tri-City Americans and owner of Buried Puck Threads. For Aaron, hockey became cool when he watched Wayne’s World. It became passion after his first (of many) Hampton Roads/Norfolk Admirals’ games in the 90’s. It became life when he started doing video and writing work for the Tri-City Americans.
Interview on Hurricanes prospect Morgan Geekie
Canes and Coffee: After not being drafted in his first year eligible in 2016, Geekie had a huge 2016-17 season jumping from 25 points in 66 games in 2015-16 to 90 points in 72 games in 2016-17. To what would you attribute the massive scoring jump?
Aaron Piper: Determination and growth physically/mentally. Geekie was solid during the 2015-16 campaign, but the score sheet didn’t show it for him. I think part of that came from him getting comfortable in his 1st full WHL season. He was finding himself. He was still growing. After getting passed over during the 2016 draft and having a long summer to train, he put in the work and used his prior year experience to gain that confidence and have a wonderful breakout year in 2016-17.
Canes and Coffee: How would you describe Morgan Geekie as a player and in terms of skill set, style of play and development thus far?
Aaron Piper: Geekie has settled into a Playmaker role. He doesn’t shy away from his opportunities to put it in the net, but he really strives to use his playmaking ability. He went from 13 assists in 2015-16 to 55 assists last season. He’s not selfish and is very comfortable being the setup man. He’s also not afraid to set up between the hash marks all the way to the crease. He uses his size to buzz and plant himself around the net and grab those opportunistic goals. His jump in PIM’s last year was also a testament to his development in terms of personality and confidence on the ice. He plays hard every shift.
Canes and Coffee: What are Geekie’s strengths that give him the potential to become an NHL player? What areas of his game must improve for him to eventually reach the NHL level?
Aaron Piper: Geekie’s playmaking ability and vision on the ice are his biggest assets. His passes are crisp. He is able to exploit the passing lanes with precision and land the puck on his line mate’s sticks. He is good on the rush and doesn’t allow himself to be a defensive liability. He was +22 which was second on the team.
He has good sized height to his frame, but should continue to bulk up. That will improve his strength in the bigger league. He also needs to work on his speed.
Canes and Coffee: Which current or former NHL players does Morgan Geekie remind you of and why?
Much from his style reminds me of Wayne Simmonds in terms of using his assets to the highest levels. They both have similar builds and know how to frustrate opponents. In terms of play around the net, he also reminds me of Jeff Skinner. Geekie can plant himself when needed, but also buzzes in the offensive zone a lot similar to Skinner.
Canes and Coffee: Is there anything else noteworthy about Morgan Geekie that maybe has not been covered in draft profiles that might be of interest to Carolina Hurricanes fans?
Aaron Piper: His personality and willingness to be out in the public. Geekie keeps it light with his goofy, jokester ways which makes him a great teammate. He is also willing to do the team events that put him out among the fans. He always carries a smile and a willingness to spread that joy to everyone around him.
For additional reading on Morgan Geekie, please check out our ‘reading list’ of external articles compiled after the Hurricanes selected Geekie in the 2017 NHL Draft.
Canes and Coffee would like to extend a huge thank you to Coach Mike Williamson from the Tri-City Americans and Aaron Piper from DUBNetwork for generously sharing their insight on Hurricanes prospect Morgan Geekie!