After what can only be described as a tumultuous six seasons in Ottawa, it appears as if Cody Ceci’s time playing for his hometown club may be coming to an end.
TOR and OTT appear to have a tentative trade in place that would send Nikita Zaitsev to OTT in exchange for Cody Ceci. There may be another part or parts to it but the deal can’t be finalized until July 1, when TOR pays Zaitsev’s $3M signing bonus.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 30, 2019
Many NHL Insiders, including Bob McKenzie, Darren Dreger, and Chris Johnston have reported that the Senators are nearing a deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs, that would have Ceci shipped off in exchange for D Nikita Zaitsev, and likely another piece(s).
While it certainly sounds as if the writing is on the wall, the deal is by no means a sure thing. Zaitsev does have a modified no-trade clause, and it has been reported that Ottawa is on his list of no-go’s. That said, his ex-coach DJ Smith is the new bench boss in the nation’s capital, so it seems likely that the 27 year-old would waive his NTC when prompted.
The trade also can’t be processed until July 1st, when the Leafs pay Zaitsev a $3M signing bonus, per Bob McKenzie.
Final word on this tentative transaction: It’s tentative. LOL. Can’t happen until July 1, which in my world means there’s plenty of time where for one reason or another it could go south. But intent is there for TOR and OTT to trade Zaitsev and something for Ceci. Now we wait.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 30, 2019
Nikita Zaitsev is going into the third year of a seven year, $4.5M per year contract. Much like Ceci, he has drawn the ire of fans for his play in the defensive zone. The big Russian defender has 63 points in 223 career games, and put up solid numbers in the KHL before heading north to Toronto.
In terms of what else Ottawa could get in return, it sounds like a roster player or pick will be sent back to sweeten the deal. I’ve heard Connor Brown’s name thrown around, but there’s been no clear indication one way or another as of yet.
Cody Ceci has played all 440 of his NHL games for Ottawa, putting up 118 points in that time. Maligned by a large section of the fanbase for his defensive play, Ceci is currently a RFA. With no extension in sight with the Sens, it seems like the 25 year-old’s days in Ottawa are numbered.
Stay tuned, folks.