Cody Ceci: Best And Worst Case Scenarios Next Season


As part of my ongoing series, I have completed 3 “Best and Worst Case Scenarios” for Mika Zibanejad, Mark Stone, and Craig Anderson. Today I will be looking at Cody Ceci, who is heading into his third NHL season but his second full one. How does next season look for him?

Best Case:

Cody Ceci has always been a touted prospect, as he was drafted 16th overall by the Ottawa Senators back in 2012. He was almost a point per game defenseman in his last two seasons of junior, and he made his way to the AHL just a year after being drafted. But even his stay in the AHL was short, as he was called up to Ottawa in the 2013-14 season.

In his season and a half with the team, I wouldn’t say he has been too impressive. He’s played second fiddle to Patrick Wiercioch most of the time, but that may change. After all, he’s not even 22 years old yet and he has some room to grow. We can’t use that as an excuse forever, but there’s reason to believe he can be better. Although he only has 30 career points in 130 games, he’s known for his offensive ability.

In his draft year he scored 60 points in 64 games, and as a former forward his instincts are offensive. As of now he isn’t that great of a defenseman, but that could change quickly. 21 points for him last season may not seen like much, but it’s an improvement. Right now he’d most likely be slotted with Wiercioch on the second pairing, and those two have solid chemistry.

Last year the pair posted a 53.3 CF% in 402:04 of ice time together, which is better than just competent. As a young defenseman, I can see him taking the next step and putting up 35 points as a best case scenario. That isn’t wildly high, but that would be a very positive development for him.

Sep 29, 2013; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators defenseman Cody Ceci (5) during warmup prior to game against the New York Islander at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

However, the most important part of his development needs to be his possession numbers. Of course he has looked great with Wiercioch, because most players do. But without him last year, Ceci posted a measly 46.8 CF% in 798:53 of ice time. It will be huge for Ceci if he isn’t so dependant on him, as then the Senators will have a fourth defenseman that they can trust.

Considering his pedigree and solid offensive potential, I think he can be much better in terms of possession. I would say the best case is for him to post a corsi above 50% without Wiercioch, and a +1.0 corsi relative. Last year he was 4th last on the team in corsi and had a -1.8 corsi relative, so the best case would be a big step up for him.

Worst Case:

While Ceci certainly has solid potential, it’s not a sure thing that he develops into what we want him to be. If he doesn’t progress anymore, then I’m not sure if he can be a regular on the team. I found his HERO graph quite interesting:

So he has been posting very good offensive numbers, but his underlying numbers show him as a bottom pairing player. While it’s encouraging to see that he could contribute well offensively, it isn’t good that his other numbers make him no better than Mark Borowiecki or former Senator Eric Gryba.

He sometimes seems lost in his own zone, and he needs some more seasoning and help along the way. But some players just can’t learn things like defensive awareness at the NHL level, and Ceci is more well-known for his offensive abilities. For a worst case scenario, he would be posting similar possession numbers to last year, where he is one of the worst on the team in corsi and also only competent with good players (like Wiercioch).

Chris Wideman is knocking on the door as well, and if he impresses early on I wouldn’t be surprised if he was given a chance on the second pairing instead of Ceci. It may not happen right away, but Wideman might actually be the better option. If that’s the case, then Ceci won’t be insulated and instead he will have to play with Borowiecki.

I’m not sure if he’ll be a possession darling, but I do think he will be much better next season

A third pairing of those two probably wouldn’t be that pretty. There’s a chance that he doesn’t make any strides and posts poor numbers again, and I could also see Wideman taking over his spot on the second pairing.


Ceci is a very interesting case. I still believe he has untapped potential, but at the same time he hasn’t been very impressive in the NHL. His only success is due to playing with Wiercioch, and he needs to take a big leap forward to be a top-four defenseman. I’m not sure if he’ll be a possession darling, but I do think he will be much better next season.

He should at least be able to put up solid point totals as long as he is in the top-4. He might not reach the best case scenario for next season, but I think it’ll be closer to that side than the worst. He was called up to the NHL perhaps a bit too soon, and our expectations were too high. 2015-16 should have been his sophomore season, and I will treat it like that.

If he can develop at least a bit, it will be huge for the Senators.

Next: Craig Anderson: Best And Worst Case Scenarios

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