On June 22nd, 2012, the Ottawa Senators drafted Ottawa Native Cody Ceci 15th overall.
Defenseman Cody Ceci was drafted by the Ottawa Senators in the first round in the 2012 draft. Ceci was born and raised in Ottawa, serving as captain of the Ottawa 67’s of the OHL in his draft +1 year, before being traded to the Owen Sound Attack. Ceci was regarded as a great two-way defensive prospect with loads of offensive potential leading up to the draft. Since his draft, he played with his hometown team for 6 seasons before being traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in a trade that still has an impact on the Ottawa Senators to this day.
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From First-Round Pick to an Ottawa Senator
Cody Ceci played in two more OHL seasons before beginning his professional career. In the 2013-14 season, he started in the AHL’s Binghamton Senators being he was called up to the Ottawa Senators due to a suspension to Jared Cowen, and never looked back. He played in 49 games for the Ottawa Senators. In those 49 games, he scored 3 goals and 6 assists for 9 points. Ceci scored his first NHL goal against the St Louis Blues during overtime. He showed great promise as a future top-4 defenseman, slotting behind Erik Karlsson. Over the years, Ceci showed flashes of brilliance but was expected to play more of a shut-down role compared to his junior days. Unfortunately, he did not live up to expectations and was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs on July 1st, 2019.
The Initial Trade
Cody Ceci was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs alongside Ben Harpur, Aaron Luchuk, and a 2020 Third Round Pick (Topi Niemela) in exchange for Michael Carcone, Nikita Zaitsev, and Connor Brown. Let’s break down each piece of the trade.
Michael Carcone was an AHL forward for the Senators organization and eventually was traded to the Nashville Predators organization later on in another minor-league trade in exchange for Zach Magwood. Magwood was not re-signed at the end of his contract and is currently playing in the DEL2 with the Krefeld Pinguines. He played 9 games for the Belleville Senators and scored no points. Carcone on the other hand later joined the Arizona Coyotes organization and has primarily served as an injury call-up.
Third-Round Pick: The Toronto Maple Leafs used the third-round pick to draft defenseman Topi Niemela. Niemela has not played any NHL games yet, but he is one of the Maple Leafs’ top prospects. He is currently playing for Karpat of Liiga.
Nikita Zaitsev: Nikita Zaitsev was the anchor of this trade. The Senators traded one underwhelming defenseman for another. The kicker of this trade is that Zaitsev has a lot of term left on his contract when the trade took place while Ceci has one year left. What benefitted the Senators in this trade was that along with Zaitsev, Ottawa received some sweeteners. Zaitsev was recently traded to the Chicago Blackhawks as a cap dump with a second-round pick and a fourth-round pick.
Connor Brown: Connor Brown was a mere throw-in when this trade was initially made. Nobody expected Brown to have the impact that he did when he was originally acquired. Almost instantly, Brown established himself as a top-of-the-lineup player in Ottawa, being a mainstay in Ottawa’s top-6 until he was traded to the Washington Capitals. During the 2020-21 season, Brown set a franchise record for most games in a row with a goal when he scored in 7 straight games. Connor Brown was traded to the Capitals for a 2024 Second Round Pick.
How the Senators are still reaping the benefits of this trade way back in 2019
While Cody Ceci is no longer playing for either the Senators or Maple Leafs organization, both teams are still benefiting from this trade. The Maple Leafs let Ceci walk at the end of his contract, and were able to use the cap savings on other players. The Leafs also still have a top prospect that was the result of this trade. All is not over for the Senators as the draft pick that was acquired in exchange for Connor Brown was used in yet another transaction. On March 1st, 2023, the Ottawa Senators traded that Capitals’ second-round pick, alongside the Sens 2026 second and also the Sens 2023 first-round pick to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for none other than Jakob Chychrun. Read more on that here.
Jakob Chychrun was drafted 16th overall in the 2016 NHL draft by the Arizona Coyotes. He has only played in three games so far for the Senators, but considering his career achievements thus far, he is exactly what the Senators had hoped for when they initially drafted Cody Ceci 11 years ago. I guess it’s just a coincidence they’re both from the Ottawa Valley.