Welcome to the second installment of 'Names To Know', a look-ahead at prospects who the Columbus Blue Jackets could select in the upcoming NHL Draft.
With two of the first dozen selections — picks #6 and #12 overall — the Blue Jackets have a chance to grab two players (for the second straight draft) that could become mainstays on the roster for years to come. In a wide-open draft, there are plenty of names to be considered ahead July's NHL Draft.
Most draft's have Conor Geekie going somewhere between about 12th and 16th, but I think the mock's that have him going in the top ten — like the one from thehockeynews.com that has him going at #9 — are going to be closer to Geekie's landing spot. He's a phenomenal player with a combination of tangibles and intangibles that make him an easy choice at #12 overall, and even someone to consider as high as sixth.
If the name seems familiar, it's because Geekie is the younger brother of Morgan Geekie, formerly of the Carolina Hurricanes and currently with the Seattle Kraken. The two are similar in their frame — Conor Geekie is 6'4" and already nearing 200lbs. He just turned 18 years of age earlier in May, so while most players his age are still developing into their bodies, the younger Geekie is already there and using it to his advantage in the WHL, where he currently is helping lead the Winnipeg Ice's playoff run.
In the last two season's with the Ice, Geekie has put up 33 goals and 60 assists for a total of 93 points in 87 games. That includes a stat line of 24-46-70 in 63 regular season games this season, and Geekie has added three goals and six assists in ten playoff games with the Ice in their continuing playoff run this spring
Geekie has put up monster numbers primarily because he has vision beyond his years, as evident by the 60 helpers in 87 games. He can put the puck in the net, using his size and strength to create opportunities in front of the net, but it's his ability to find teammates in goal-scoring position that makes him a lock to go in the first round. When I think about the young wingers the Blue Jackets have in their pocket right now — namely Patrik Laine, Yegor Chinakhov, and Kirill Marchenko, all three players are going to need a strong center to help create the opportunities for them, and that's the best part of Geekie's game.
Check out the assist he picks up here — this is no accident. It's an outstanding play that showcases his vision and ability as a center.
Geekie threads a pass through multiple skaters for a primary assist pic.twitter.com/5c8sypSe6E— Matthew Somma (@Mattsomma12) January 3, 2022
Geekie is also a savvy two-way player who looks to create turnovers when the opposition has the puck, but he's smart enough to avoid getting caught being overly aggressive.
His weaknesses, and the reason he's outside of the top ten in most drafts, are easily correctable. His speed and skating need some work, and in a game that seems to get faster with each season, those are weaknesses that he'll have to address. Shot accuracy has been a problem point for Geekie as well, but one that did improve in his second season with the Ice and something that a freshly-turned 18-year-old still has plenty of time to sort out.
Unlike Cole Sillinger, who went #12 last summer, Geekie is not someone who is going to be in the NHL this season. The holes in his game listed above will mean at least one more season in the juniors, but that's okay. For whoever drafts him, he will be worth the (relatively short) wait.
Recent mock draft results: