By Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer With the first pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, the Edmonton Oilers selected 18-year-old right wing Nail Yakupov, making him the first Russian-born player chosen No. 1 overall since Alex Ovechkin in 2004. READ MORE ›
If Ceci makes the Senators in the fall, money surely won't be a problem -- and general manager Bryan Murray doesn't rule out that possibility.
"If he's good enough in training camp, we'll give him that look," Murray said. "It's hard for a defenseman, we know that. But we have lots of room, we just need good players to fill the room."
Murray said the fact Ceci is from Ottawa played into his organization's decision to draft the big, puck-moving defenseman who was the sixth-ranked North American skater on NHL Central Scouting's final list.
"He's a local young man who played locally, and we kind of like that influence on our hockey team as well," Murray said. "I really think it's a great influence on minor hockey, it sends a great message to the players in Ottawa that if you are a great player, we will certainly look at you as a candidate for the Senators. These people become role models."
There was also an added side benefit in the pick for Murray.
"The good thing about it is he may pick me up on his way to the arena and drive me," the GM said.
On a serious note, Murray likes the offensive skills Ceci brings to the table, as his 60 points in 64 games with the 67's attests. When asked if he was happy, Senators scouting director Pierre Dorion had a one-word answer.
"Very," he said.
Ceci said he grew up watching a lot of 67's games and felt lucky to play his major junior hockey with his hometown team. If all goes well, he'll get to do the same thing at the pro level with the Senators.
"It worked out for me," he said. "I'm lucky enough to go back home and tryout for my hometown team. I'll try to make the most of it."
He doesn't remember the first time he went to see the Senators live, but he does remember when he got the news that he would be going to his first game when he was 8 or 9 years old.
"I remember getting tickets for Christmas and I thought it was the best thing ever," he said. "Getting those tickets, I remember it being my best gift, and they were only in my stockings. It'll be special for me."