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Monday Mailbag – Is Cody Ceci underappreciated by Edmonton Oilers fans?

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Photo credit:Tom Kostiuk
baggedmilk
4 months ago
Happy Monday, Nation, and welcome to another brand new Mailbag to help get your week started and keep you updated on all things Edmonton Oilers. This week, we’re discussing the Oilers’ 16-game heater, Cody Ceci’s spot on the roster, NHL award predictions, and more. If you’ve got a question you’d like to ask, email it to me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk , and I’ll get to you as soon as we can.
Jan 27, 2024; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; The Edmonton Oilers celebrate their 16th straight win with a 4-1 victory over the Nashville Predators at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
1) @quackenbush17 asks – With the current 16-game heater, what’s something you see every game consistently that you’d like to see improve their game overall?
Jason Gregor: Nothing. They have won 16 in a row, there is no consistent weakness they need to improve on or they wouldn’t have won 16 straight.
Tyler Yaremchuk: Shooting the puck more! The Oilers stars have not been shooting the puck as much as they were last season and I think it’s why their production is down and the powerplay isn’t as dominant. Rip the pill!
Zach Laing: The start of their games. In the last week or so, we’ve seen the Oilers really struggle early in games and have relied too heavily on their late-game heroics. It’s fun, no doubt, but that’s not a model that can sustain breaking the 17-game record. The Oilers will have nine days of rest by the time they play the Golden Knights on Feb 6., and dating back to 2007-08, they are 2-1 coming off nine days of rest, outscoring their opponents 4.3 to 3.0 on average.
Liam Horrobin: The powerplay. The improvements have happened recently but it needs to continue to rise. When the games are tight the powerplay needs to be the difference and relieve some stress.
Baggedmilk: Keep things a little more simple sometimes. I find that when the Oilers are rolling that they often try to force cross ice passes through more than normal, and it might actually be better to keep things simple. Fire pucks on net, crash the crease, pick up the garbage. Given that the boys have cranked out 16 wins in a row, anything we say here is nitpicking.
May 3, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Cody Ceci (5) warms up before the start of game one of the second round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena.
2) @LivingEastVan asks – Is Cody Ceci the most underappreciated player in the league? He plays 20 minutes a night and is making $3.25 M, yet half of Oilersnation wants to trade for Sean Walker to “upgrade.” Can we not show Ceci some love? He’s a bargain!
Jason Gregor: He gives them great return on their cap hit. Is he a #2 Dman, no, but he hasn’t looked overwhelmed when playing those minutes. Personally, I don’t view Walker as a clear upgrade. He is better at puck retrievals and passing, but I don’t see him as a better defender. And I wouldn’t want a 5’11” Dman not named Makar, Fox or Q. Hughes in my top pair. If they could find a legit upgrade, I can understand it, but in a cap world it is hard to find.
Tyler Yaremchuk: Yeah, Sean Walker is not an upgrade, so let’s cool it on that front. There’s no doubt that Cody Ceci is wildly outplaying his contract but, I also don’t view him as a true top-pairing defenseman, so it makes sense why the Oilers would look to upgrade on him. At the same time, Darnell Nurse is clearly comfortable with him and the Oilers did make the conference finals with Ceci playing top pairing minutes a few years ago, so I only think they should make a move if it’s a clear upgrade.
Zach Laing: Cody Ceci’s been a good soldier for the Oilers, but so was Tyson Barrie, and I don’t think there’s anyone here arguing the fact they would rather have Barrie, than Ekholm. Ceci is more of a third-pairing defenceman than a third-pairing guy, and while I’m fine with him on the team, if the Oilers can identify a similar upgrade on the blueline as they did last year, then I trust them in making that move.
Liam Horrobin: Cody Ceci is underappreciated for the role he plays. He’s not perfect by any means but it feels like every RHD available is an apparent upgrade on him. You’re not going to find many defencemen in the NHL under $4 million that play the role that he does.
Baggedmilk: Cody Ceci has played very well this season, and I do think he deserves more love than he gets around here. That said, if a deal can be made to upgrade that position without breaking the bank then it’s something that has to be explored. I mean, there were plenty of us that were confused about trading Tyson Barrie last season, but the right deal came along and it’s worked out great.
Jan 20, 2024; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner (74) guards his net against the Calgary Flames during the second period at Scotiabank Saddledome.
3) James in Peterborough asks – With the club at the halfway point of the season, wondering who you would have as the Oilers’ internal major trophy winners if you were voting: Hart, Lady Byng, Norris, Masterton, Selke, Vezina, Calder?
Jason Gregor:
Hart: McDavid
Lady Byng: Ceci
Norris: Closest vote, but would be Bouchard.
Selke: Hyman. Excellent 5×5 numbers.
Vezina: Skinner
Calder: Hamblin
Masterton: Gagner
Tyler Yaremchuk: Their MVP is still Connor McDavid, although Skinner is right behind him. Lady Byng would be Derek Ryan (only 4 PIMS). Norris is Ekholm. Masterton is Pickard or Gagner. Selke is Nugent-Hopkins. Vezina is obviously Skinner. Calder is Holloway, I guess.
Zach Laing:
Hart: Zach Hyman
Byng: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Norris: Evan Bouchard
Masterton: Sam Gagner
Selke: Ryan McLeod
Vezina: Stuart Skinner
Calder: Dylan Holloway (?)
Liam Horrobin:
Hart: Stuart Skinner
Lady: Ryan McLeod
Norris: Evan Bouchard
Selke: The Nuge
Vezina: Stuart Skinner
Calder: Dylan Holloway
Baggedmilk: The MVP is Connor McDavid even though I really want to say Stuart Skinner. Lady Byng is Zach Hyman even though he does collect PIMs from time to time. Skinner gets my Vezina. Nuge gets the Selke. Masterton would go to Sam Gagner. Calder goes to Holloway, but only because we have no other options. Norris goes to Ekholm.
Nov 22, 2023; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Edmonton Oilers goaltender Calvin Pickard (30) skates out onto the ice for the warmups before the game against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena.
4) @hugh__jayness_ asks – With Perry signing and Pickard playing well in a backup role, what do you see and/or would like to see Holland do to make a deep playoff run?
Jason Gregor: A second line RW or a 4th line RW centre.
Tyler Yaremchuk: Go out and get a legit top-six right winger to slide next to Leon Draisaitl. If a right-shot version of Mattias Ekholm becomes available, then go get them but if that doesn’t happen, just go get another high-end forward.
Zach Laing: I like the idea of a defensive upgrade on Ceci or Brett Kulak.
Liam Horrobin: They’ve got to add a middle six winger whether that’s to help Leon Draisaitl or Ryan McLeod I am not sure.
Baggedmilk: I would love another scoring winger that could fit in the top six. If you give this team another offensive weapon, there’s no telling what they’d be able to do. If not a scoring RW then maybe a 3C that can both win draws, play sound defensively, and chip in with the odd goal or two.
Jun 21, 2019; Vancouver, BC, Canada; NHL commissioner Gary Bettman speaks before the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
5) @JohnDun75501008 asks – Should we abolish loser points? Surprising fact: No team in the NHL has fewer losses than the Oilers. Loser points suck.
Jason Gregor: Boston has nine regulation losses, but I’m assuming you are adding L and OTL together. Oilers and Van have 16, but VAN has played more games. Colorado has 17 and also played more games. Here is where games in hand benefits EDM. I don’t have much of an issue with it, especially you can’t have someone get zero points when losing in a shootout. Unless they go to 5×5 in OT, which wouldn’t be great for entertainment, I don’t see the loser point going away. I would be in favour of no shootout, and play 10 min of 3×3 and if no goals, then each team gets a tie.
Tyler Yaremchuk: Yes. The league should go to a 3-2-1-0 point system.
Zach Laing: Yes.
Liam Horrobin: I would not be against only getting points if you win the game. It doesn’t need to be complicated.
Baggedmilk: Either go to the 3-2-1 system or bring back ties. I’m tired of watching mediocre teams hang around because they found a way to lose in bonus time instead of in regulation. Say what you will about an OTL, it’s still a loss.

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