Is Jim Rutherford getting better at his job? It looks like it. Although, I suppose better is relative to the standard he has set for himself. Instead of signing a bad bottom pairing defenseman to a five-year deal for millions of dollars he signed a bad bottom pairing defender for only a single year for around only 1M. Baby steps!
Cody Ceci is a Penguin and there was no shortage of people on the internet joking that the Penguins would sign him when the team bought out Jack Johnson.
Did they need him? No, of course not. The guy they already have signed for less is better
I Ceci a few a few trend continuing with this signing. The first is Rutherford’s desire to collect as many bad defensemen with alliterative names as he can.
The other trend is to collect as many underachieving former first round draft picks he can.
He inherited Maatta and Pouliot, but the others he went out and got. He’s also acquired former first round picks (some he actually made himself) Jack Johnson, Kasperi Kapanen, Phil Kessel, Patrick Marleau, Jared McCann, Pierre Olivier Joseph, Nick Bjugstad, Derrick Brassard, Erik Gudbranson, Jamie Oleksiak, Riley Sheahan, David Perron, Ian Cole, Eric Fehr, Marcel Goc, and Ron Hainsey.
It's not limited to the NHL roster
Perhaps Rutherford can trade McCann’s cap hit away so he can target some other former first round picks out there on the free agent market. Mikael Granlund is a former first round pick. He makes at least a little bit of sense. However, there are players more up Rutherford’s alley like Karl Alzner and Dmitry Kulikov. He played Riikola on the wing so why not sign one of them to do it? What about Ron Hainsey, Derrick Brassard, Riley Sheahan, or Alex Galchenyuk again? MIchale Grabner, Colin Wilson, Corey Perry, Mirco Mueller, Brian Boyle, Brendan Perlini, Michael Del Zotto, and Brendan Gaunce are out there. Beau Bennett? Another former first round pick that is available. Cory Schneider hasn’t technically signed with the Islanders yet. Jarry/Schneider tandem? Thomas Vanek and Drew Stafford didn’t play last year. Maybe they’ll get a call from the 412.
While the Ceci signing is only for a single year at 1.25M it still hurts. The Penguins cap situation is death by paper cuts. A little here, a little there, and all of a sudden you’re out of money. Between the Penguins paying Jack Johnson and Nick Bjugstad to play elsewhere and the Tanev, Matheson, Colton Sceviour and Ceci contracts we are talking about 14M of cap space wasted on unneeded players. Think about how far that 14M could have gone this offseason in the buyer’s market it was. Think about how far it could go in any other season. This lack of care to detail has led us to this point. The Penguins only have 1.3M left in cap space and don’t have a contender caliber bottom six with no clear path to getting one. Seems like a big problem with an aging Crosby and Malkin.
All I know is the world would be a better place if you can find someone to love you like Jim Rutherford loves analytically bad bottom pairing defensemen.
Thanks for reading!