#1: Conor Geekie: C
Conor Geekie plays for the Winnipeg Ice of the WHL. He is 6’4″ and 205 pounds. Elite Prospects ranks Geekie at 15th overall.
He is ranked fifth among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting while TSN’s Bob McKenzie ranks him tenth and DobberProspects ranks him 21st. If his name sounds familiar, it is because Geekie’s older brother Morgan plays for the Seattle Kraken.
With the Ice this past season, he scored 24 times and notched 46 assists for 70 points in 63 games.
The Canucks may want to boost the centre depth and Geekie could be their guy.
Geekie displays great puck handling and hockey IQ. He is constantly winning the board battles and seems like he is always at the right place to get scoring chances and knows how to find his teammates in the right areas for passes.
Geekie also can score plenty of goals as his release is fantastic.
However, there are concerns with Geekie. One of these is his physicality. Despite his size, he isn’t a physical player.
Another concern and perhaps the biggest one is his skating. Geekie’s stride isn’t that good and is seen as an average skater by scouts. Skating could make or break Geekie’s chances of becoming a top-six player in the NHL.
Here is what Matthew Somma of Smaht Scouting had to say about Geekie:
"“If I were an NHL team with a top 20 pick, I would hesitate to draft Geekie. It’s easy to be enamored with the size and skill, but under the surface, you have a player that’s going to take a long time to get to a top-six role at the NHL level. Geekie could easily peak as a third-line player in the NHL, which, in this scout’s opinion, is not worth a top 20 pick. Again, the upside is there, but there are a lot of holes in Geekie’s game that could limit his effectiveness at the NHL level.”"
Geekie has the tools to be an effective NHL player but his skating needs to be improved.
#2 Marco Kaspar: C
Marco Kaspar plays for Rögle BK in the SHL, which is Nils Höglander’s old stomping grounds.
Kaspar is 6’1″ and 187 pounds. He is also currently playing for Austria at the World Championships.
Like a lot of prospects in this year’s draft, Kaspar’s ranking varies. EliteProspects has him at 27, SmahtScouting has him at 25, Sportsnet has him at 14 and McKeen’s Hockey ranks him at 15.
Kasper looks to be the fourth Austrian to be drafted in the first round of the NHL Draft after Thomas Vanek (drafted fifth overall by the Buffalo Sabres in 2003) Michael Grabner, (taken 14th overall by the Canucks in 2006) and Marco Rossi. (Went ninth overall in 2020 to the Minnesota Wild.)
Kasper split time between Rögle’s under 20 team and the first team this season. With the under 20s, he scored six goals and got seven assists for 13 points in 12 games. In 46 games with the big club, he scored seven times and managed four assists for 11 points.
Unlike Geekie, skating is one of Kasper’s strengths. He displays great acceleration and stride.
Kasper is also a smart two-way centre. He is very good at breaking up passes with his stick and is constantly intercepting the puck. Kasper also isn’t afraid to throw out a big hit.
Kasper likes to hover around in the slot or front of the net. There he looks for an open teammate to pass to or uses his size to provide net-front presence.
The offensive production is something he needs to work on and scouts say that may hold him back from being a top-six NHLer. The shot also isn’t that powerful either.
"“He’s an advanced 200-foot centre who has fit in playing a regular shift in the SHL and has played well during Rögle’s Champions Hockey League segments. I don’t see game-breaking skill or finishing, per se, but he’s a strong skater who plays with pro pace, plays on the interior, and makes plays all over the ice. He projects as a contributing NHL player.”"
The Canucks may want Kasper to strengthen the centre depth. He does a lot of things right but there needs to be more from him and he has a lot of time to increase his production.