Cody Ceci Signs Two-Year Bridge Deal with Senators

Ottawa Senators General Manager Pierre Dorion once remarked getting a contract for restricted free agent defenseman Cody Ceci done was the only thing in his way from a restful end to an active summer in the NHL. A few weeks before the team opens training camp, the deal has come to fruition.

A substantial increase from his entry-level contract that carried an $894,000 cap hit, it’s clear the Sens want to see what they really have in their 2012 15th overall pick and have given Ceci a two-year window to show the organization why he was such a high selection in the first place.

Cody Ceci Signs Two-Year Bridge Deal with Senators

Entering a season where he will turn just 23 in December, Ceci showed flashes of promise in his third NHL season in 2015-16. Surpassing the ten-goal mark for the first time in his career with an even ten, he added another career high in points with 26 continuing his upward trend offensively logging 19:18 per game, fourth on the blueline. The Ottawa native also led the team for the second consecutive season in penalty killing time with 185:08 logged blocking 20 pucks that came his way shorthanded and 130 overall. Unfortunately, the Sens fell 15 spots from ’14-15 to 29th in penalty killing (75.8%) this past season surrendering nearly 33 shots per contest (last). On a team that was inconsistent and whose identity was a mystery according to their GM, Ceci cannot take all the blame in just his third season in the league.

Ceci’s possession numbers are trending downward but so has the team’s, falling from seventh (team-52.43% CorsiFor%) in his first season (Ceci-50.8%), to 25th (team-47.47%) this past season (Ceci-44.6%). Goaltenders Craig Anderson, Andrew Hammond, and others have done their best the past two years compiling a .930 even-strength save percentage, with the latter going on an insane 20-1-2 run backstopping the Sens into the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs when they were allowing 32 shots per game.

It’s clear Dave Cameron’s system relied too much on the men between the pipes during his tenure, and it will be interesting to see what head coach Guy Boucher and his staff, which includes former Colorado Avalanche head coach Marc Crawford, bring in their system and how Ceci adapts coming off of a career year and a new contract. For what it’s worth, in his first year with Tampa Bay in 2010-11, Boucher’s team posted an 83.8% penalty kill (8th), allowed 28.7 shots per game (6th) and 51.86% Corsi-for percentage, good for eighth in the league.

A product and former captain of his hometown Ottawa 67s of the OHL, Ceci topped out at 17 goals and 60 points in 2011-12, following a point increase that saw him go from 12 to 34 in his first two seasons before bursting onto the scene offensively in his draft year. He could have former offensive dynamo Dion Phaneuf as his partner full-time this season after a trade with the Maple Leafs last season brought him to the nation’s capital. The pair combined for four goals and 16 points in the final 20 games last season.

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