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Oilers Considering a Cody Ceci Deadline Upgrade on Defense

With the trade deadline right around the corner should the Edmonton Oilers ship Cody Ceci off? Is his play stunting those around him?

Edmonton Oilers’ Cody Ceci has been thrown around in trade rumors as the NHL Trade deadline nears. Ceci joined the team as a free agent in 2021 and has played a solid game since. Unfortunately for him, since the acquisition of Mattias Ekholm, the rest of the D-core have elevated their game, and “solid” might not be good enough for a Stanley Cup. Is it worth dumping Ceci at the deadline and shaking up the chemistry between the defense core? The Oilers are discussing the idea.

Cody Ceci Oilers trade rumors

This season, Ceci has struggled (at times) to compete with the level of play the Oilers’ defense is playing at. He was shuffled around during Saturday’s game against the Seattle Kraken, placed on the third defense pairing with Brett Kulak. Furthermore, one could argue he lacks the rigor and grit needed for a deep playoff run. In addition, the least amount of penalty minutes from a defenseman on the Oilers is Ceci. Ceci potentially lacks the physicality needed to push the Oilers deep into multiple playoff series’.

Is Cody Ceci Holding Nurse Back?

On top of the lack of physicality, the Ceci-Nurse pairing is merely average. And, for a team gunning for a Cup, average won’t cut it. Darnell Nurse is having an excellent season, but his play seems to be stunted alongside Ceci. Perhaps an upgrade brings more out of Nurse, especially when it matters most.

Darnell Nurse Ryan McLeod Oilers

For instance, after Ekholm was paired with Evan Bouchard, and the level at which Bouchard is playing has been elevated. Ekholm fosters confidence and trust within Bouchard and makes him a better player. Confidence and trust—that’s something that is lacking within the Ceci-Nurse pairing.

Dumping Ceci to get a stronger defender might be exactly what is needed to not only patch up the problems but elevate the play of the rest of the defense core. This is not to say Edmonton should blindly send Ceci packing without a plan. There is also something to be said for disrupting team chemistry and the top four d-corps. Still, the Oilers’ defense has been under scrutiny this season and something needs to be done to change the inconsistencies when it comes to limiting goals against.

Maybe letting go of a solid, but average player in Ceci, and hunting down an upgrade might be what is needed for the Edmonton Oilers. 

Next: Penguins Offer Huge Update on Jake Guentzel’s Trade Deadline Status

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