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Cody Ceci to the Leafs

After spending eight years with the Ottawa Senators organization, Cody Ceci has seen his time with the red and white come to an end. After taking the brunt for many of the Senators’ defensive failures, will he finally get to play under the radar?

In the earlier years

PETERBOROUGH, CANADA – DECEMBER 29: Cody Ceci #83 of the Ottawa 67’s skates in an OHL game against the Peterborough Petes on December 29, 2012 at the Peterborough Memorial Centre in Peterborough, Canada. The 67’s defeated the Petes 6-3. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

As a 16-year-old Ottawa native, playing for the hometown Ottawa 67’s was just one step away from playing for the team he grew up cheering for, the Ottawa Senators. In the 4 seasons with the 67’s, Cody Ceci racked up 146 points (41G, 105A) in 238 GP. Although a good puck handler, skating was a big concern. Drafted 15th overall by the Ottawa Senators in 2012, many within the Senators organization had some heavy doubts about Cody’s future as an NHL defenseman including the Senator’s head coach at the time, Paul MacLean. After a strong season with the Binghamton Senators in 2013-2014, Cody Ceci got the chance to go play with the big Club.

The offensive side

OTTAWA, ON – JANUARY 9: Cody Ceci #5 of the Ottawa Senators shoots the puck against the Chicago Blackhawks at Canadian Tire Centre on January 9, 2018 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

It’s no secret, Cody Ceci loves being an offensive defenseman. Some of his stronger points come from the offensive side of his game. His shot from the point is very good, his passing in the offensive zone while on the power play is also good, his capability to watch the play unfold in the offensive zone and read the situation is something that has significantly improved over his years with the Senators.

The defensive side

OTTAWA, ON – MARCH 23: Mike Condon #1 of the Ottawa Senators makes a desperation blocker save with his back turned to the play as teammate Cody Ceci #5 and Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins look on at Canadian Tire Centre on March 23, 2017 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Over the years with the Senators, Ceci has fallen on a lot of hard times. Taking the majority of the hits for the Senator’s defensive failures. Having played alongside players like Erik Karlsson, Dion Phaneuf, and Ben Harpur, Cody has shown a lot of defensive breakdowns leading to goals against. Poor on ice judgement calls, out of position plays and bad decisions when attempting to make the breakout passes has ultimately been a big part of the criticism that he’s received.

Ceci as a Maple Leaf

Hockey: Aerial view of Toronto Maple Leafs logo at center ice during game vs Washington Capitals at Scotiabank Arena. Toronto, Canada 2/21/2019 CREDIT: David E. Klutho (Photo by David E. Klutho /Sports Illustrated via Getty Images) (Set Number: X162487 TK1 )

If there’s any hope at revitalizing his career, Toronto is one of the best ways to do it. Ceci might have his role diminished a little which should be a good thing. Alongside defensive partners like Jake Muzzin, Morgan Rielly and possibly even Tyson Barrie, a lot of pressure will come off the 25-year-old. Signing a 1 – year/ $4.5 million hopefully will be the new beginning he needs. With solid goaltending from Frederik Andersen; the offensive powerhouse of Auston Matthews, John Tavares, William Nylander and Mitch Marner (TBD), Ceci won’t be so heavily relied on, rebuilding his confidence will be key. Cody can now focus on just being a defenseman against 3rd and 4th line players.

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