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Did Ceci Stabilize the Defense?

February 14, 2014, 12:04 PM ET [0 Comments]
Travis Yost
Ottawa Senators Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
One of the things I've noted over the past few weeks is Bryan Murray's insistence that the call-up and subsequent performance of prospect Cody Ceci has fixed, to some extent, the defensive woes that were undermining the team.

Here's Bryan Murray just recently on the topic, via the OS<>/a>:

"I'm fairly happy with the group that we have," said Murray in a pre-break interview with two Ottawa reporters before the game at TD Garden. "I thought at the beginning we would need to make a change on defence.

"We seemed to be unable to get the puck going on a consistent basis. Cody (Ceci) coming in has given us that other person that could compliment the defensive-type guys. I'm not concerned about that now. I do think if we could find another forward that had some offensive ability or a real determination to play hard. That's basically what I'm looking to do if that's possible."

The trade rumors have been a contentious point of discussion, namely because I think a lot of fans get the sense that the Ottawa Senators really only have the movable assets and the budget in place to perhaps acquire one player before the trade deadline, and all signs continue to point in the direction of a top-six winger. The names that have been kicked around seem to float into daily columns at the Ottawa Sun at this point: Matt Moulson, Ales Hemsky, Chris Stewart, and a litany of other guys -- all being rumored as potential buys to fill the void on Jason Spezza's wing.

I continue to find this interesting, because -- and I've exhausted this over the past few weeks, so I won't delve into it once more -- it strikes me as rather obvious that the blue-line is much more of an issue for this team, with or without Cody Ceci. I'm of the opinion that Ceci's played well, but he -- like just about every player not named Erik Karlsson -- is ready for a first-pairing role. And, most of those guys probably aren't suited for a second-pairing role, either.

When I look at the group of forwards, I think there's an argument to be made that they rank in the top-half of the league. I don't get that feeling about the defense, and that's noting that they have one of the best defensemen in the world. It's just so barren behind him, even with Cody Ceci emerging as a potential NHL talent.

In the event Karlsson was unavailable due to injury or something of that variety, what would the defense look like? I argue, quite emphatically, it's got the feel of one of the worst groups in the league.

So, what say you? Did Cody Ceci bring this defense up to par, enough to push Bryan Murray towards acquiring a top-six forward in the coming weeks? Or, does this defense still need fixin' well beyond the young offensive defenseman?


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