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) /
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COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 4: Andreas Johnsson #18 of the Toronto Maple Leafs reacts after Cody Ceci #83 of the Toronto Maple Leafs scores a goal during the second period in a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on October 4, 2019 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 4: Andreas Johnsson #18 of the Toronto Maple Leafs reacts after Cody Ceci #83 of the Toronto Maple Leafs scores a goal during the second period in a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on October 4, 2019 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Alex Hobson

No, I don’t think it’s time for the Cody Ceci experiment to end.

Why? Because he’s been better than Nikita Zaitsev and the Maple Leafs don’t have any other options. The Leafs brought in Ceci through a trade that sent Zaitsev back to Ottawa, and they have to put up with a one year contract at $4.5 million.

While Ceci has been far from great this year, he’s still been able to contribute offensively and honestly, hasn’t looked horrible this year. The main thing I hoped for before the season started was that he would be better than Nikita “panic and throw the puck up the boards” Zaitsev. And so far, that’s been the case.

If Ceci was on a long term contract like Zaitsev was, then I would absolutely be hitting the panic button and saying yes get him out asap. But it’s only the one year that the Leafs have to put up with him, and as of now, there aren’t really any better options in the AHL.

So unless the Leafs have a better RHD option in mind and are able to use Ceci to acquire said option, I don’t really see the point in hitting the panic button just for the purpose of saying “he sucks get rid of him”.

The Leafs’ next best RHD options in the AHL right now are Timothy Liljegren and Jordan Schmaltz, who ideally would both spend the majority of the season in the AHL. Essentially the point I’m trying to make is that the Ceci experiment shouldn’t end unless there’s a trade out there to upgrade that includes Ceci as a returned piece.

Is having him on the team ideal? No. Could it be worse? Yes. Absolutely.