Ottawa Senators Should Not be Eager to Trade Cody Ceci

Dec 5, 2015; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators defenseman Cody Ceci (5) skates with the puck in front of New York Islanders left wing Matt Marin (17) in the first period at the Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 5, 2015; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators defenseman Cody Ceci (5) skates with the puck in front of New York Islanders left wing Matt Marin (17) in the first period at the Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cody Ceci negotiations have put the Ottawa Senators in a very difficult predicament. If the impasse they appear to have hit is completely unsalvageable, they may find themselves with no choice but to trade him.

Looking at their roster right now, it doesn’t seem like they have any pressing needs that would make a Ceci trade worthwhile, though.

General manager Pierre Dorion has implied that he really likes the Senators’ top 6 forwards right now, and it’s easy to see why.

They have Mark Stone, Bobby Ryan, Mika Zibanejad, Zack Smith, and Kyle Turris all currently under contract.

Once the arbitration hearings with Mike Hoffman get under way, the Senators should feel secure in the fact that Hoffman will at least be around for one more season.

The sniper might not be viable in their long term plans if these back-to-back arbitration hearings have left him questioning his perceived value to management, but the talented goal scorer is going to be playing for Ottawa next season in all likelihood.

That’s a very formidable top 6. Stone is both a goal scorer as well as a big, defensively adept forward, Ryan is a fantastic playmaker, albeit prone to some long stretches of frustrating inefficiency. Zibanejad is a two-way forward with impressive scoring ability.

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Turris is undersized, but also a speedy playmaker with great offensive instincts. Smith is not only a good defensive forward, but he’s coming off a season in which he lead the NHL in shooting percentage, netting himself 25 goals in the process.

Ceci has the potential as a playmaking defenseman to command a great player from another team, but the upper-tier forwards on this roster don’t look like they need a massive overhaul.

If healthy, all those guys are dependable for at least 20 goals. Add Clarke MacArthur into that category as well. If 2015-2016 is any indication of his offensive acumen, Jean-Gabriel Pageau should also be considered in that same category now.

Scoring wasn’t the Senators’ problem last season. Despite injuries to guys like Turris and MacArthur, they ranked 9th in the NHL in goals per game. With those two returning, they have a multitude of sources for lamp lighting.

Their defensive core of Erik Karlsson, Dion Phaneuf, and Marc Methot also looks solid. Karlsson is the best offensive defenseman in hockey, Phaneuf is still capable of being an upper-tier defenseman on the offensive end, and while Methot doesn’t boast impressive offensive skills, he’s a big, stay-at-home defender who stabilizes that side of the ice.

Mark Borowiecki is also one of the hardest hitters in the NHL, and adds an intimidating physical presence.

Having said that, the defensive unit minus Ceci would be more in need of reinforcements than the forwards would, particularly in the form of a defensive-oriented guy to help anchor the unit.

Where things stand now, though, the team already has a viable defensive option in Ceci. If the team is unsure of the type of player Ceci can develop into, then could they realistically expect to get a return on him from another team that satisfies them?

Basically, if they’re unconfident of how Ceci projects as a player in the future, they’d have to find a team that views him in a way more positive light, and that is a big variable.

Perhaps high draft picks can be acquired for him, but Ceci is a former first rounder who has improved on his point totals every year he has been in the league. It’d be a huge risk to forfeit a prospect who has lived up to his expectations (more or less) for uncertainty.

Goaltender also doesn’t seem like a crucial need at this point. Craig Anderson is inconsistent, but he has also proven capable of stretches of dominance. Andrew Hammond took a step back last season after his historically impressive rookie year, but it remains to be seen what role lingering injuries played in that decline.

Hammond still could be their goaltender of the future, and to give up on him now by trading Ceci for a starting goaltender seems hasty.

All things considered, the Senators should probably view trading Ceci as the absolute worst case scenario. Their roster is already loaded with talent amongst forwards, they have an intriguing netminder, and re-signing Ceci is the easier and less unpredictable way to improve a defensive unit.

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Ceci is relatively unproven in terms of his ceiling, but his returns so far on his talent have been promising. The Senators shouldn’t be too eager to trade away a player like him, especially given the context of their roster right now.