The NHL's annual Entry Draft brings dreams to life for several teenaged hockey players who finally get the chance to pull on an NHL sweater. Tonight, a player that we've had the privilege to watch for the past three seasons had his name called. One way or another, Cody Ceci will be playing next season at Scotiabank Place, as he was drafted 15th overall by the Ottawa Senators.
Not only has he played the entirety of his Major Junior career in Ottawa, but being an Orleans native, Ceci will continue playing in his hometown after being the highest 67 to be taken since Logan Couture went ninth overall in 2007.
In 230 career OHL games, all of them in an Ottawa uniform, he added 32 goals and 94 assists. This past season, Ceci was second to only Dougie Hamilton, the ninth overall pick in last year's draft, in points by a defenceman. Ceci also found himself invited to Canada's Under-20 camp in December and again this summer for the Canada-Russia challenge. He was a second-team OHL all-star, the second-youngest player to recieve such an honour behind only teammate Sean Monahan.
Ceci has the size to play in the NHL next season, although ideally, Ottawa’s pro club would probably prefer to send the 6’3 rearguard back to Junior to work on his physical game. With that being said, all signs point to the Sens parting ways with unrestricted free agent defencemen Filip Kuba and Matt Carkner. Having already given up David Rundblad, a somewhat comparable defender, in a deal to acquire Kyle Turris, Ceci could definitely fill that void starting next season.
However, Ottawa (NHL) has a history of patience with homegrown blueliners, and it wouldn’t be too surprising to see Ceci back with the Barberpoles for at least one more campaign. If the Sens acquire one or more veteran defencemen, via trade or free agency as General Manager Bryan Murray has said he wants to do, Ceci could find himself too low on the depth chart to make the pro squad.
Cody now joins a Senators prospect system that includes Corey Cowick, a teammate from his rookie season, as well as Shane Prince, who has been a teammate of Ceci's for the majority of his Junior career.
Those of us at the Ottawa 67’s Fan Blog, along with 67’s fans everywhere, would like to congratulate Cody for earning this honour. We look forward to watching Ceci play in the Nation’s Capital for a long time coming.