The Ottawa Senators have to determine what they will be doing with Cody Ceci.
Ceci will be an RFA on July 1st and will be expecting a contract extension. But, the question is should the Ottawa Senators give him one?
It’s no secret that Ceci hasn’t been effective for the Senators. He’s been atrocious. He’s a liability. Let me throw some stats at you and see if you’d sign Ceci.
2018-2019: 74 games, 7 goals, 19 assists, -22, 22:34 ATOI, 142 Blocks, 120 Hits, 20 Take-Aways, 59 Give-Aways, 44.1 Corsi-For Percentage, 44.7 Offensive Zone Start Percentage, 55.3 Defensive Zone Start Percentage
The offensive production isn’t bad and the physicality isn’t bad. But, the defensive and possession numbers are a concern. You are paying Ceci to be a defenseman. You are paying him to ensure that the puck doesn’t go past Craig Anderson. Instead, you can make the argument that the Senators are betting off playing 5v4 for an entire game then having Ceci on the ice.
Entry Defense, Exits, Entries
visuals by CJ Turtoro, stats from Corey Sznajder
Per the visuals (above) from CJ Turtoro, it’s evident that Ceci is one of the worst defensemen on the Ottawa Senators. His entry defense and exits per 60 numbers are awful.
When you look at entry defense, Chris Wideman, Maxime Lajoie and Thomas Chabot were more effective than Ceci last season. His breakup percentage was very low, his dump percentage was on the lower end, his carry-in percentage was high and pass percentage was extremely high. If you are coaching a team, you don’t want your defenseman allowing quite a bit of entry passes or carry-ins. You’d rather have your defensemen making more dumps and/or breakups.
In terms of exits per 60, Ceci tends to make a lot of passes to get out of his own zone. You can’t trust him to carry the puck out of his own zone and drive up the ice. If you are coaching the Senators, you’d lean towards Dylan DeMelo or Chabot to drive the puck from zone to zone. Aside from carries/60, Ceci’s best attribute when exiting his own zone is dumps, but his dumps/60 is still pretty weak when you compare it to the rest of the Senators’ defensive core.
In the entries per 60, you’ll see Ceci was more effective here than Lajoie, Christian Jaros, DeMelo and Wideman. But, Ceci isn’t someone to rely on. He fails to carry-in the puck and is a bit timid about making an entry pass. Instead, he’ll dump the puck into the offensive zone. He lives and breathes by the “Dump and Chase” strategy. That old strategy that your high school coach or midget/bantam coach lectured you on.
visual by Sean Tierney, data from EvolvingWild
In EvolvingWild’s projections, Ceci is projected to earn 4 million USD AAV on a 5 year term. If you look at CapFriendly, there are quite a few effective right-handed defensemen that earning roughly 4 million USD per season. Brett Pesce, Josh Manson, Damon Severson, Adam Larsson, John Klingberg, David Savard, Jason Demers and Colin Miller are all earning around 4 million per year and are all more productive than Ceci.
If Ceci truly asks for 4 million dollars a year, the Senators should be giving him a Greyhound bus pass or a Via Rail train ticket and saying you can go now. There is no way that Ceci is worth 4 million dollars a year. He’s worth around 2 million at best. Ceci is a flier. He could surprise folks and have a solid season next year. But, in order to do that, he’d need to be deployed a bit differently. He’d likely need a higher offensive zone start percentage, which would likely increase his corsi. However, that still wouldn’t be a good decision. He’d still be terrible in his own zone.
At this point, if I’m running the show in Ottawa, I’m trading Ceci’s rights. I’d trade Ceci’s rights on the Draft Day and hope for a mid-round pick. Let another team deal with Ceci. It’s clear that he isn’t working out in Ottawa, so why continue to pay him?
stats from Corey Sznajder, Hockey-Reference.com and NHL.com
projections from EvolvingWild
visuals from Sean Tierney and CJ Turtoro
featured image photo credit – Nikos Michals