22 years old, 6’3”, former high draft pick, and pretty darn solid offensively. Sounds like a pretty good player. In fact, Cody Ceci is so good, that when a deal was reportedly proposed to send Jonathan Drouin to Ottawa in exchange for Ceci, the Senators turned it down. Cody Ceci is now a restricted free agent, which means a player of his caliber is bound to get a big contract, right?
The only problem is, Cody Ceci isn’t actually very good. First off, credit where credit is due, in terms of 5v5 offensive production, Ceci is very good. In fact, he’s among the 91st percentile in this category, ahead of notable offensive defensemen such as Kris Letang, Mike Green and Shea Weber (yes, Shea Weber is an offensive defensemen these days). Though this is within a small sample size, as Ceci plays a bottom pairing role, and to be taken lightly.
Cody Ceci’s defensive impact is bad. Like really bad. Like if he didn’t score a whole bunch, he shouldn’t even be allowed in the NHL. Defensively, the players most similar to include: Nick Schultz, Jared Cowen, Luca Sbisa, Nicklas Grossman, and some guy named Mark Flood (who upon googling, is a player with 39 games NHL experience, who is middling at best in the KHL right now). Frankly, none of those players are guys I’d want on my team in any role. He is a net negative to his team on his end of the ice, which is where he usually is because he can’t get the puck up the ice.
Lazy journalists would have you believe that Ceci is a very good two way blueliner. One article I’ve read even compares his two-way game to Erik Karlsson. Yeah, that Erik Karlsson. The best defensemen to play the game since Nicklas Lidstrom, and quite possibly the best player in the world.
Now Ceci is only 22 years old, and it’s likely he’ll improve. But I don’t see him ever being a top pairing defensemen. His ceiling is likely as a 2nd pair, offensive specialist. If I’m the Senators, well first of all I’m calling Yzerman begging for that Drouin trade, but more realistically I’d sign him to a one or two year deal with an AAV of around a million. He’s not worth the big bucks, and if you give him said bucks, it will probably not work out very well.