Ottawa Senators defenceman Cody Ceci is doing his best to tune out trade rumours ahead of the Feb. 25 deadline.
While the majority of trade rumours in the nation's capital have surrounded pending unrestricted free agents Mark Stone, Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel, Ceci – a restricted free agent this summer – has also been speculated to be on the block.
“It’s not the first time my name’s has been in the [trade] rumbles,” Ceci told the Ottawa Sun on Tuesday. “It’s just what happens when your team is at the bottom of the standings.
“It’s all part of the business. I mean, if you’re not doing well, they’ll try to move pieces to get younger and younger, so that’s just part of it.”
Bruce Garrioch of the Sun reports the Senators have not shopped Ceci, but notes there is interest in the 25-year-old. He's already tied his totals from last season with five goals and 19 points in 52 games this season, and said Tuesday he'd be capable of creating more offence in a different role.
“I guess in the role that I’m in, I’m playing in a defensive role against the top lines, and it kind of limits your ability to play offence or to take chances,” Ceci said. “You’ve got to play a sound defensive game and there are a lot of people that just don’t understand that.”
“It’s a good challenge every single night,” he added. “You’re playing against the top players in the world and you might not be getting all the glory out there, but it’s a big part of team wins.”
Ceci carries a $4.3 million cap hit this season on the one-year deal he signed with the Senators in August. He could become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2020.
Teammate Mark Borowiecki said Tuesday the team is expecting to see plenty of changes over the coming days.
"It's getting down to the nitty gritty here. Me and Magnus [Paajarvi] were joking there is going to be a lot of heavy suitcases on this road trip probably or a couple of extra ones, guys making sure they are prepared," Borowiecki said. "It comes with the job, it comes with the territory. I have said this a few times it is a results-driven business and the results haven't been there for us consistently. You expect changes. Obviously, you don't want it to happen; there is a lot of guys in this room you are very, very loyal to."
For his part, Ceci said he hopes to stay in his hometown.
“I still like playing in Ottawa. I’m from here and my friends and family are here,” Ceci said. “But it’s part of the business and it would have been a lot different if I had gotten traded in one my first years [instead of] now when I had the chance to play at home.
“If they want to move me, I think at this point, my friends and family understand what they’re doing is they’re trying to get younger, but I still really enjoying playing and living in Ottawa.”