The last RFA signing for the Ottawa Senators is out of the way, with Cody Ceci inking a two-year deal on Tuesday. It came in at two years and a cap hit of $2.8M, which is entirely... fine. Seriously, there’s not a lot to say about it. I’ve noticed the blogosphere has been pretty quiet when it comes to analysis of the signing. SensChirp has only put up a news piece, and with all respect to Ian Smith of SenShot, I don’t know if I agree that Sens top-four is “really solid”.
The truth is I have my reservations with Ceci. As I said a couple months ago, Ceci has NHL-level offensive skills, but it remains to be seen if he can be an all-around defenceman (in the Erik Karlsson mould) or an offensive specialist (like Justin Schultz). His work in his own end hasn’t impressed me a lot, but Sens management seems very high on him, maybe because he’s a local guy, maybe because he was such a great story as a 19-year-old call-up who never got sent back down, maybe because they look for different things from me.
All that to say, I was worried about this contract. I thought the Sens might give him too much money, too many years, or both (i.e. pulling a Jared Cowen contract). But to Pierre Dorion’s credit, he’s been getting just about everything right this summer. Ceci’s contract was no different. There’s no question Ceci is skilled, and especially as a budget team (that’s somehow $13M above the cap floor), you don’t get rid of cost-controlled guys still in their RFA years (unless they’re Swedish) unless you’re certain they’re not going to work out. $2.8M is perfectly fine for a second contract, and two years I think is the perfect amount. The Sens have set themselves up for a crunch next year with all of the one-year, two-way contracts they signed this offseason. It’s nice that Ceci won’t be one of those guys.
It’s important to remember Cody Ceci will only be 22 when he starts this coming season. He’s still young and growing. This is the ideal contract to let him grow. As someone who’s routinely critical of Ceci and the leeway he’s given, I’m very happy with this. I guess “I’m happy” just isn’t enough of a hot-take to warrant writing an article, even in the doldrums of August.