Cody Ceci might be one of the most improved defencemen of the 2012 Draft class. The 18-year-old is coming off of his third season in the OHL with the Ottawa 67’s since he was drafted 16th overall at the 2009 OHL selection draft. He tallied four goals and eight assists in his rookie season.
He improved to nine goals and 25 assists with 28 penalty minutes in 68 games in his sophomore season but it has been this season that have had scouts' eyebrows raised as he jumped to an impressive 17 goals and 43 assists for a 60-point season in 64 games. He also lowered his penalty minutes to 14 and posted an impressive plus-21 on the year.
The 6-foot-2, 207-pound frame is known to be a mobile skater who plays a very dynamic and offensive minded game. With his size also comes power, as he comes packaged with a booming shot. The one thing that he seems to need improvement on is using his size to play a bit more physically.
“I think I’m a two-way defenceman,” Ceci told media at the NHL Scouting Combine earlier this month. “I like to jump up on the rush and move the puck up to the forwards but at the same time just be that late guy to get scoring chances and quarterback the power plays. I play against top lines every night so I have to stay responsible in my own end and I think that’s pretty important to take into the next level.”
Ceci has been creeping up the rankings throughout the year and is now ranked to go 6th overall at the NHL Draft later this month. Eight of the top 12 prospects are defencemen so like many of the other blueliners in the 2012 class, Ceci has his own reasons of why he stands out above the rest.
“I think I have the age advantage,” he explained. “I’ve played three years in the OHL so I think I have an advantage over some guys because I have that extra year. I think I’ve developed a little more and matured a bit more too.”
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).
“It was what I expected,” he said as he tried to catch his breath after the bike tests. “I knew it was going to be hard- and it was very difficult. By the end of a few of them I was feeling really dizzy almost like I was going to pass out. Other then that, it was a great experience and I had a lot of fun. I pushed myself to a new level to try to get noticed out there. I’m proud of how I did.”
Ceci met with 25 NHL teams during the combine week, something he looked at as being a very big part of the overall experience.
“The days were pretty long but it was cool to meet with that many teams,” he said. “Having that many teams interested in you means a lot to me. Just talking to teams trying to figure out which ones have the most interest and where I’m going to go is all exciting stuff. It just builds up a little more hype for the draft.”
With the draft sneaking up less then two weeks away, Ceci said he’s not thinking about where he is ranked or if it matters, but admits to counting down the days.
“I wasn’t really thinking about the draft because of the combine but now that it’s all over, that’s the next step and it’ll be the main thing on my mind. I’ll try not to think about it try not to lose sleep over it but I’m getting really excited for June 22nd.”