Toronto Maple Leafs Roundtable: The Is the Cody Ceci Experiment Working?

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 28: Cody Ceci #83 of the Toronto Maple Leafs warms up prior to an NHL pre-season game against the Detroit Red Wings at Scotiabank Arena on September 28, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 28: Cody Ceci #83 of the Toronto Maple Leafs warms up prior to an NHL pre-season game against the Detroit Red Wings at Scotiabank Arena on September 28, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
4 of 7
Next
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 19: Travis Dermott #23 of the Toronto Maple Leafs passes the puck against the Boston Bruins in Game Five of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the TD Garden on April 19, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 19: Travis Dermott #23 of the Toronto Maple Leafs passes the puck against the Boston Bruins in Game Five of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the TD Garden on April 19, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images) /

David Scala

When the Toronto Maple Leafs acquired defenseman Cody Ceci from the Ottawa Senators this past summer, there was an obvious concern as to what role he would be given in the lineup on the back end.

Well noted by Senators fans, Cody Ceci was a very polarizing player in Ottawa. Despite his positive offensive production, defending is most definitely not his strong suit.

Fast-tracking to training camp, Ceci had a relatively decent showing. Being paired up with Morgan Rielly all throughout pre-season, Ceci was a bit of an afterthought among fans. Mostly due to Rasmus Sandin’s remarkable camp and the addition of Tyson Barrie, Ceci was able to come into camp and not have all the focus directly on him.

Through the first 9 games of the regular season, Ceci has had quite a few good games and some bad ones. As Travis Dermott nears his return to the lineup after off-season shoulder surgery, the Maple Leafs back end is sure to change in the coming weeks.

Has Cody Ceci earned himself minutes with Morgan Rielly? Not really, but there was no option to take his place and play those kinds of minutes. Ceci is very familiar with the workload of a top 4 defenseman, so it made sense for Mike Babcock to put his trust in a player who has the experience instead of a rookie.

The Cody Ceci experiment to me is a stopgap until the return of Travis Dermott, who has been slated to be Rielly’s partner. For now, Ceci is doing his job and filling the shoes of an injured top four defensemen, and that’s all you can ask from him. Nothing more, nothing less.