Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney is working to fill the major voids left by the retirements of longtime centers Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. It has been 20 years since the Bruins had neither one of Bergeron and Krejci in the lineup to start a season. Krejci missed the 2021-22 season with Boston to play in his native Czechia, but Bergeron picked up the slack with 65 points in 73 games. Now without either of their two top centers, Sweeney has had to plug the holes as best as he can. Pavel Zacha and Charlie Coyle will fill some of the need. But who else can step in for Boston?
On July 1, 2023, the first day of free agency, the Bruins signed center Morgan Geekie to a two-year, $4 million contract. Geekie was a third-round draft pick of the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2017 NHL Draft and most recently played for Seattle after being selected in the 2021 Expansion Draft. The 25-year-old is an intriguing addition to the Bruins. During the 2022-23 season, Geekie scored nine goals with 19 assists in 69 games but played only an average of 10:27 of ice time throughout the season. All but one of his points came at even strength, and the 6-foot-3, 200-pound forward won 297 of his 614 faceoffs.
However, in a small sample size, Geekie’s analytics create some anticipation for what the Manitoba native might do with more ice time. As the Boston Sports Journal’s Conor Ryan reported, Geekie was one of 359 NHL players to log at least 500 minutes of ice time. Out of those players, Geekie averaged 2.47 points per 60 minutes, good for 31st in the entire league, ahead of both Vegas’ Jack Eichel and Alexander Ovechkin of Washington. That is an impressive statistic for a player who has seen limited ice time.
You can bet that the Bruins will give Geekie every opportunity early on to show that he can play increased minutes, particularly at center. Boston needs another good young center to go with Zacha, who will potentially be the top-line pivot this season. If Geekie can produce with the likes of Brad Marchand and Jake DeBrusk, then Coyle can remain where he excels, on the third line.
For Morgan Geekie, it will come down to what the right-shot center can do at the faceoff dot and potentially on the power play and a second unit. If Geekie can expand on his impressive analytics to start the season, the Bruins might have found another good young center to help turn the page from two all-time players.