The Pittsburgh Penguins announced that they inked Cody Ceci to a one-year, $1.25 million contract on Saturday.
The signing likely completes a transformation to the Penguins’ backend by general manager Jim Rutherford and it’s unclear if they’ll be better for it.
According to @JFreshHockey, Ceci is a subreplacement level defenseman (meaning that dude from the minors is better).
Cody Ceci, signed 1x$1.25M by PIT, is a subreplacement defenceman who consistently gets played in much higher minutes than he deserves. It's been a while since the Pens had someone like that, eh? pic.twitter.com/kisudWDw7w
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) October 17, 2020
Ceci, a right-handed shot, is coming off a one-year, $4.5 million deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs where he got big minutes after being paired with Morgan Rielly (the team’s best defenseman) for most of the season. That partnership, along with hundreds of minutes with Auston Matthews and William Nylander, helped lift Ceci’s 5v5 shot attempts percentage slightly above 50 percent per Natural Stat Trick, but masked some of his deficiencies individually.
“Crosby.. to Malkin.. back to Crosby.. they’ve got the defense in trouble here.. Crosby.. he fakes it and passes to Ceci..” pic.twitter.com/BVriHLqCcn
— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) October 17, 2020
The beef with Ceci in Toronto was that he was paid too much and given too many minutes. During his years in Ottawa, Ceci was routinely shelled; he never registered a 5v5 shot attempts percent above 50 in five full seasons and bottomed out in 2018-19 at 43.96. In Pittsburgh, it’s possible his negative impact could be reversed and he might be able to provide minimal value with a role that better suits him: like on the third pairing or as a seventh defenseman.
This is a look at the Penguins’ defense with Ceci’s addition. They only have $1.3 million of cap space left.
Over the last few weeks, the Penguins have sought to improve their defense by buying out Jack Johnson (after months of praising Jack Johnson) and acquiring Mike Matheson (who was benched by Florida in the playoffs) in a trade. Matheson has six years left at nearly $5 million per season.
Here’s how Hockey Twitter reacted to the Penguins’ signing of Ceci.
jim rutherford pic.twitter.com/KuMXKKfb07
— 200 IQ haver (@capsboybebop) October 17, 2020
Cody Ceci to Pittsburgh pic.twitter.com/V8ONOWjfpK
— Ashton (@guentzeIvania) October 17, 2020
Oh dear Todd https://t.co/YJ7Mt4GJ4C
— Peter Hassett (@peterhassett) October 17, 2020
look at the date i made this IT WAS A JOKE pic.twitter.com/CDp88chPTh
— lindsey (@lindseyclarke) October 17, 2020
cody ceci isn’t as bad as jack johnson
but it’s still hilarious
— dom luszczyszyn (@domluszczyszyn) October 17, 2020
The Pittsburgh Penguins have agreed to terms with defenseman Cody Ceci on a one-year contract, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.
The contract runs through the 2020-21 season and carries an average annual value of $1.25 million.
“Cody is a two-way defenseman who plays with size and a speed game that fits our system well,” said Rutherford. “He brings both regular season and playoff experience, and can be utilized on the penalty kill.”
Ceci, 26, spent the 2019-20 season with the Toronto Maple Leafs, skating in 56 games and totaling eight points (1G-7A) and a plus-7. The defenseman ranked second on the Maple Leafs with 92 hits, third with 79 blocked shots and led Toronto by averaging 2:50 minutes of shorthanded time-on-ice per game.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Ceci has played 496 career NHL games, split between Toronto and the Ottawa Senators. The right-handed shooting defenseman has recorded 33 goals, 93 assists and 126 points in his seven-year career. Ceci hit the 10-goal mark once in 2015-16, while he set career highs two seasons ago in 2018-19 with 19 assists and 26 points (tied). Ceci has also appeared in 30 career playoff games, tallying four points (1G-3A).
The Ottawa, ON native was originally drafted by Ottawa in the first round (15th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft held in Pittsburgh.
Prior to turning professional, Ceci played for his hometown Ottawa 67’s and the Owen Sound Attack during his four-year junior career in the Ontario Hockey League. In 265 career junior games, Ceci recorded 49 goals, 121 assists and 170 points with a plus-27. He was named to the OHL Second All-Star Team twice in 2011-12 and ’12-13, and captained the 67’s in ’12-13.
Internationally, Ceci represented Canada at the 2016 IIHF World Championship, helping his team win gold by leading all Canadian defensemen with six points (1G-5A) in 10 games (tied with teammate Mike Matheson).
Headline photo courtesy of the @penguins
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