The Pittsburgh Penguins announced on Saturday afternoon that they have signed defenseman Cody Ceci to a one-year, $1.25 million contract. Ceci became an unrestricted free agent on October 9.
Cody Ceci signs a 1 year, $1.25 million deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Good fit for both and opportunity for Ceci to reset like others are doing on short term deals.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) October 17, 2020
Penguins’ GM Jim Rutherford has expressed a desire to add to the team’s defense after they fell in four games to the Montreal Canadiens during the Stanley Cup Qualifiers, where they allowed 10 goals. The team acquired blueliner Mike Matheson, in addition to forward Colton Sceviour, from the Florida Panthers in exchange for forward Patric Hornqvist on September 23.
After getting traded from the Ottawa Senators to the Toronto Maple Leafs on July 1, 2019, the 26-year-old recorded one goal, eight points, a +7 rating, a 50.22% Corsi-for percentage, and a 50.87% expected goals-for percentage in 56 regular-season games. He added a goal and had an even rating during the Maple Leafs’ five-game Qualifying Round loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. The team bought out defenseman Jack Johnson earlier this month.
The 2019-20 season was the first time Ceci had a plus-minus rating above a -11 since 2015-16.
In 496 career games with the Senators and Maple Leafs, Ceci has recorded 33 goals, 126 points, and a -53 rating. In 30 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, he has posted a goal, four points, and a -7 rating.
With the addition of Ceci, the Penguins add some defensive depth after they allowed an average of 2.84 goals-per-game, tied with the Carolina Hurricanes for 11th in the NHL, while their 82.1% penalty-killing percentage was tied for eighth in 2019-20. Ceci, who shoots right-handed, will likely slide in on the Penguins’ third-pairing alongside Matheson.
While averaging 20:32 worth of ice-time per game, including a team-high 2:50 on the penalty kill, Ceci recorded 92 hits (second on the Maple Leafs behind defenseman Jake Muzzin’s 109), 79 blocked shots (third), 30 giveaways, and 16 takeaways last season.
Ceci was selected 15th overall by the Senators in the 2012 NHL Draft in Pittsburgh.
With Ceci in the fold, the Penguins currently have $1,318,158 remaining in cap space with no unsigned restricted free agents.
The Maple Leafs also lost defenseman Tyson Barrie, who signed a one-year contract worth $3.75 million with the Edmonton Oilers in free agency, after allowing an average of 3.17 goals-against per game (tied for the sixth-worst in the NHL) and having 77.7% penalty-killing efficiency (21st) during the regular season.
Ceci can become an unrestricted free agent after the 2020-21 season.
Cody Ceci, signed 1x$1.25M by PIT, is a subreplacement defenceman who consistently gets played in much higher minutes than he deserves. It’s been a while since the Pens had someone like that, eh? pic.twitter.com/kisudWDw7w
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) October 17, 2020
By Harrison Brown