The Pittsburgh Penguins added Cody Ceci to their defensive corps, what does he provide and how much importance can be attached to the signing?
The Pittsburgh Penguins have depth on their blueline, but they just added even more. The Penguins signed free-agent defenseman Cody Ceci to a one-year deal worth an average annual value of $1.25 million.
The 26-year-old right-shot defenseman played his first season outside of the Ottawa Senators organization in 2019-20. He played 56 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs where he recorded a single goal and seven helpers.
The Penguins have a ton of depth defensively and it looks as though he will play on the third-pairing and share some time with Chad Ruhwedel who was given a one-year contract extension just a couple of months ago.
It is an interesting addition because the Penguins don’t necessarily need more defensive depth as Ruhwedel is a decent third-pairing defenseman. Since he wasn’t given league minimum, it is unlikely Ceci will be used as an extra depth defenseman in case of injury.
Cody Ceci had a very strong rookie campaign and his trajectory looked favorable. After that strong rookie season in Ottawa, Ceci has been a replacement-level player and has been among the worst defenseman in the NHL. In all honesty, it is quite shocking he is even still in this league. It also doesn’t make sense to improve your team through the buyout of Jack Johnson and then go add a barely better version of Johnson in Ceci.
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It is very important to note that Ceci actually very surprisingly had a decent season with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was an above-average defenseman this season in expected goals against per hour and corsi against per hour. He actually provided some defensive value for the first time in his career outside his rookie season.
While he hasn’t developed into anything more than a depth third-pairing defenseman, he still held his own this season and provided a little value.
This is a one-year deal, so if it doesn’t turn out, the Penguins don’t lose anything. They also have Ruhwedel who can be an option if the Ceci experiment turns disastrous.
Ceci also is a physical defenseman which is a trait the Penguins could use, there is nothing wrong with adding some grit and physicality into a lineup.
This could be Ceci’s last shot at sticking around in the NHL, hopefully, he makes it count.
All Data and Information Via Evolving-Hockey, Hockey-Reference & CapFriendly