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Penguins Sign D Ceci To 1-Year, $1.25M Deal



Codi Ceci By Michael Miller - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

He doesn’t exactly fit the mold of younger and faster that the Pittsburgh Penguins were chasing. Well, defenseman Cody Ceci is still relatively young at 26, but he’s not overly fleet of foot or overly offensively gifted. But he is now a part of the team’s defensive corps.

The Penguins signed Ceci to a one-year, $1.25 million free-agent contract Saturday, according to multiple reports.

He’s a right-handed, right-sided defenseman who could vie for time on the third pairing along with Chad Ruhwedel and Zach Trotman.

Comparisons to (a younger) Jack Johnson could spring up.

Ceci, 6 feet 2 and 210 pounds, was a first-round pick, 15th overall, by Ottawa in the 2012 draft. The defensive defenseman has been fairly reliable in terms of being healthy enough to play a lot of games and a fair amount of minutes since his first full season, 2014-15. In 496 NHL games, he has 33 goals, 128 points. He appears to be the latest in a string of signings of players, mostly defensemen, who the Penguins hope to coax — or coach — into living up to their draft pedigree or reclaiming their career.

“Cody is a two-way defenseman who plays with size and a speed game that fits our system well,” general manager Jim Rutherford said in a team release, going against the conventional description of Ceci’s skating. “He brings both regular season and playoff experience and can be utilized on the penalty kill.

Starting in 2016-17 and in three successive seasons with the Senators, Ceci was minus-11, minus-27 and minus-22. Last season with Toronto, Ceci had a goal and seven assists and was a plus-7 in 56 games.

Earlier Saturday, the Penguins signed promising prospect Sam Militec to a one-year, two-way contract for the NHL minimum of $700,000. He is 23 and coming off an American Hockey League All-Star season. In two AHL seasons, he has 21 goals, 46 assists in 111 games. He is expected to get a good look in training camp, whenever that starts.