Nine months ago, Morgan Geekie proudly stepped to the podium to deliver a hilarious opening comment about Pizza Hut during a routine media availability session, bragging tongue-in-cheek about his status as a pitchman and a gold card carrying member.
In theory, he now has more dough and opportunity to spend on the preferred cuisine.
The Seattle Kraken and Geekie are united in future plans, agreeing to terms on Sunday for a one-year extension which will retain the 6-foot-3, 192-pound center in Seattle for the 2022-23 season.
Geekie, 24, is set to enter his third full NHL season with a new contract in place worth $1.4 million, avoiding arbitration which was originally scheduled between Geekie and the Kraken in August.
He appeared in a career-high 73 games last season after the Kraken picked him in the expansion draft from the Carolina Hurricanes, navigating his first full season in the NHL without a stint in the minor leagues, racking up seven goals and 22 points.
“He took an important step forward last year and we’re looking forward to him continuing his growth with the Kraken,” said Kraken general manager Ron Francis in a team statement.
Where Geekie finds his role at this point of the summer is still a work in progress.
Shedding their expansion season skin, the Kraken weaponized available salary cap space entering the summer to make bold upgrades, short term and long term. Francis signed dynamic left winger Andre Burakovsky, traded for established top-six production in winger Oliver Bjorkstrand from Columbus, and drafted phenom center Shane Wright, 18 years old but by many projections with star potential, at fourth overall.
Pair that development with returning firepower in Matty Beniers, Jared McCann, Jordan Eberle, Yanni Gourde, a presumed healthier Jaden Schwartz, and veteran presence in Alex Wennberg. Simply put, likely roles are more defined now versus 12 months ago, when an expansion team faced a clean slate and had yet to play in an NHL game together.
But Geekie is looking forward to delivering versatility, where options can help find a role.
“I think for me it’s about establishing a role,” Geekie told 93.3 KJR at the NHL Draft in Montreal. “I’ve prided myself on doing a lot of different things. I think I can fit up and down the lineup. I showed that last year.”
“Wherever they put me, I’m going to give my best effort.”
Geekie, who scored in the historic opening game on Oct. 12 at Vegas and was a part of the Kraken inaugural home opening lineup on Oct. 23 against Vancouver, played in the final 29 of 31 games last season and was effective in the face-off circle, matching his career best with a 52 percent win percentage of his draws.
Geekie also elevated his reliability in the defensive zone, winning 56 percent of his draws (seventh among NHL’ers).
The native of Strathclair, Manitoba has 35 points in 111 career NHL games with Seattle and Carolina, and has Pacific Northwest ties, twice cracking the 30-goal mark at the major junior level in the Western Hockey League with the Tri-City Americans.