Alright, everybody, here we go. We’re into the top 10 so hang onto your hats or whatever you happen to be wearing on your head at any given time. We begin our top prospects with Cody Ceci of the Ottawa 67s. The son of 1984 Vanier Cup MVP Parri Ceci, Cody is coming of a stellar year which saw him finish second in scoring amongst all OHL defenseman with 60 points. To go along with his scoring tear, he also put up 14 penalty minutes to go along with a plus-21 rating. Ceci was also invaluable to his team’s run to the semi-finals scoring 2 goals and adding 13 assists with a plus-1 rating in 18 postseason games.
Ceci was invited to the U20 World Junior Championship tryouts for Team Canada but was among the final cuts before the tournament. Ceci does have some international experience under his belt, however, as he represented Canada at the U18 tournament in 2011. In seven games at the tournament, Ceci contributed one assist to go along with a plus-3 rating as Canada finished fourth at the tournament after being defeated by the Russians in the bronze medal game.
Weight: 207 pounds
Born: December 21, 1993
What People In The Know Know
Ceci is a very sound all-around defenseman who doesn’t have a standout skill other than his hockey sense, but he does everything else at a fine level which in the big picture makes for a very good defenseman. He’s fluid, but not extremely fast but he really gets around in all directions well, activates efficiently off the point, and looks technically sound in his movements. Ceci is a plus thinker who sees the ice very well, can make good split second decisions, and is able to quarter back the power play.
The Ottawa 67′s defenceman, a two-way type with good size at 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, was the youngest player to attend Hockey Canada’s summer development camp. The Orleans, Ont., native, has used that as a springboard into the season with his hometown team, counting two goals and eight points in his first five games.
Ceci wasted little time establishing himself in the OHL as rookie in 2010 even though he was one of the league’s youngest players. He’s known for being technically sound and disciplined, with just 40 penalty minutes in 137 OHL games, which is remarkable for a defenceman. However, he is trying to round out his game by playing more physically, as well as jumping into the rush more frequently.
He was able to impress at the NHL Scouting Combine in Toronto in several areas. The Orléans, Ontario native finished in the top ten in seven different testing categories including three of the leg power tests, 10th in push-ups X body weight (6970 pounds) and third in pull strength with 309 pounds.
To give you a better idea of his size, he recorded a 77.8 wingspan (tied for seventh) and jumped 113 inches in the standing long jump (seventh).
A player whose stock rose as the season progressed, Ceci could surprise on draft day if there is a team that needs an offensive defenseman and is picking in the top 10.
To be sure, he’s a big player – “He’s built like a house,” one scout said – with an even bigger shot from the blueline.
“He’s not a guy who looks natural offensively but he seems to be able to get the points,” said another scout. “He’s a little robotic and he has a stiffness in his game that makes you wonder, but he’s a big, strong kid with a really good shot.”
Like most offensive defensemen, there is an element of risk to his game that will need to be tamed when he gets to the NHL.
His defensive coverage is spotty at times, but he has excelled in all situations with the Ottawa 67′s.
“This kid is Michael Del zotto,” said another scout. “He’s a little slanted to the offense over defense, but it’s easier to teach defense than offense.”
From The Horse’s Mouth
Ceci is a player built in the mold of a typical offensive defenseman that can punish any defender’s shins who attempts to block his shot. He’s not going to be the next Al MacInnis but the above comparison of Michale Del Zotto seems like it could potentially have some credence to it.
He is currently ranked sixth amongst North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting and, if you were to ask me, is a lock to go in the top 10 of the draft. Defensemen of his offensive talent just don’t come along that often and any team looking to add some punch to their blue line would not be doing themselves wrong by drafting Ceci.