Top 25 Under 25, no. 9: Cody Ceci

Just in case you didn't know his name from the headline. - Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

The Senators' top draft pick in 2012 has fallen two spots since last year. Is it because of a decrease in optimism, or an increase in depth?

Spoiler: it's not the former.

When offensive defenceman Cody Ceci was last seen in the Top 25 Under 25, we praised his skill, point production, and that he's eligible for the American Hockey League next season. Given what he's accomplished in junior, that last part's a very good thing.

Ceci spent the first half of his Ontario Hockey League season on then-Scotiabank Place ice with the hometown Ottawa 67's, co-captaining the worst team in the league by a longshot (nine points out of second-last). As a sign of benevolence, the 67's traded Ceci to the Owen Sound Attack for a playoff run. An excellent 34 points in 39 games couldn't keep Owen Sound in the hunt for a championship, and so Ceci moved on to bigger and greener pastures: the city of Binghamton, New York.

Fun fact: Ceci finished second in 67's scoring despite playing 22 games fewer than the player he tied with.

In his professional debut, Cody Ceci put up two assists in three regular season games (which, in 18 fewer games, put him one point above Darren Kramer and Ben Bishop). He was then held scoreless in the brief, disappointing playoff matchup against the horribly-named Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins (seriously, who puts a slash in a sports team name?).

As last year's pick, Ceci is now no longer the "new hotness" as he has ceded that title to 10th on the list Curtis "Kanata Valley" Lazar. Don't let that fool you, just because Ceci is no longer the guy most talked about doesn't mean he's not someone worth watching. Your next chance to do so will be at the annual rookie tournament in September where he will be leading the Senators' defence.

It's unlikely that Ceci will make the Senators out of training camp, as his role of offensive defenceman has already been filled by the likes of Erik Karlsson, Patrick Wiercioch, and Joe Corvo. If any of them get hurt, however, look for Ceci to at least get a few games in with the big club. Until then, it should be fun to watch him develop and give the Senators yet another weapon on the blueline. And hey, he's a right-hand shot, something the Senators always seem to lack.

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