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
5 of 7
Next
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 28: Cody Ceci #83 of the Toronto Maple Leafs passes the puck during 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 passes the puck during 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) /

Kyle Cushman

Before we jump into things here, I’ll preface this by saying seeing Cody Ceci in a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey scares me just as much as it scares everyone else.

That being said, the Leafs simply can’t end the Ceci experiment this early. From every angle you look at, Toronto can’t afford to cut bait with Ceci just three weeks into the season.

For starters, the team doesn’t have a ready replacement. Without Ceci, Morgan Rielly would be left to play with one of Justin Holl or Martin Marincin. That alone makes this an open and shut case. I’ll hear the argument once Travis Dermott is healthy and playing games, but as the roster stands, it would be irresponsible to end the Ceci experiment now.

Thrusting Holl or Marincin into top-four minutes is asinine. The club obviously wants Timothy Liljegren with the Marlies, otherwise, he would be on the NHL team already. The way the roster is constructed here in late October, Toronto has no other option than to keep with Cody Ceci.

The fact of the matter is, Ceci hasn’t even been as bad as we all anticipated. Has he had his defensive gaffs? Sure. Has he continuously made baffling pinches leaving Rielly to defend an odd-man rush? Absolutely. But Ceci currently has a positive Corsi for (50.8%) and expected goals for (50.5%) all while sporting a PDO of 102.

Ceci isn’t a $4.5 million defenceman by any means, but he’s been serviceable for the Maple Leafs through three weeks. When Dermott returns to the lineup, this conversation can be had much more seriously, but as things stand today, the Leafs cannot end the Cody Ceci experiment.