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Gazdic: “If you’re going to trade Ceci, you better be sure what you’re getting in return is a major upgrade”

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Photo credit:Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Liam Horrobin
22 days ago
The NHL All-Star break is typically a time when personnel from around the league like to relax and try a put back a few cocktails. However, the City of Toronto sparked something because the top two players on Frank Seravalli’s Trade Targets board have found new homes.
The first domino to fall was Elias Lindholm becoming the second Calgary Flame to get traded to the Vancouver Canucks this season, joining Nikita Zadorov. A few days later, former Flame Sean Monahan was next on the move, heading to the Winnipeg Jets.
Those two trades sent Edmonton Oilers fans into a whirlwind of worry with two already robust Western Conference teams getting stronger. However, perhaps fans shouldn’t jump the gun. After all, the Oilers headed into the All-Star break on a 16-game win streak, only one win away from tying the league record.
The team is on a mega high after a dismal start to the season that saw Jay Woodcroft lose his job as the head coach. Patience from Ken Holland has prevailed, but as we edge closer to the trade deadline, the intrigue of who he should pursue increases.
Holland’s biggest problem is that the Oilers only have $2,253,937 in cap space, which limits any possible transactions. Holland’s motto the past couple of years has been “money in, money out.”
With that the case again this year, if the Oilers want to add, then somebody that’s been around for a few years now has to go. The player on the tip of everyone’s tongue when that topic comes up is Cody Ceci. Ceci has played on the top pairing with Darnell Nurse for the past few seasons, and the two of them have gained a strong partnership. However, many believe it’s time the team saw the back of Ceci.
“I struggle with this because I understand how close the guys get in the room,” said Luke Gazdic on messing with a team’s mojo. “If you’re going to go out and trade [Cody] Ceci, which is a possibility, you better be sure that what you’re getting in return is a major upgrade.”
There’s no denying that Ceci isn’t perfect. However, for $3,250 million he’s given the team a ton of value. Another argument against trading is who are you bringing in that will fit in better than he does right now?
How big of an upgrade is Sean Walker? Alexander Carrier? Even Chris Tanev for that matter. There are options available but with such little cap space to play with, is upgrading on Ceci the team’s biggest need?
“I think he [Ceci] has given you a lot of serviceable minutes,” continued Gazdic. “I think he’s been a hell of a defenceman for them and that’s not something you can always say. Under some good coaching and structure, he’s turned into an important piece for the Oilers.”
Last season, Edmonton moved on from Tyson Barrie, who was a core part of the team, and the team found success without him. The difference here is that there’s nobody available to them with the potential of Evan Bouchard.
Ceci isn’t an untouchable piece on this team, but, as Gazdic reminded us, you better be sure what you’re bringing in is pretty damned good.

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