Ceci’s camp is asking for $6 million, while the Senators are proposing a $3.35-million deal for the 24-year-old, who had five goals and 19 points this past season.
The five-year NHL veteran’s play has come under fire in recent seasons. Advanced analytics show a defender who gives up scoring chances at a high rate, while others see a strong, right-shot skater living up to his status as the 15th pick of the 2012 NHL Draft.
The 6-foot-2 rearguard has historically been highly valued by Senators management, which protected him during last summer’s expansion draft in favour of Marc Methot, who wound up on Dallas.
He also played for Team Canada at the 2016 world championship after putting up a career-high 10 goals and 26 points in 2015-16.
His $6-million ask might seem excessive, but that’s kind of the point. Unlike in MLB arbitration, where the arbitrator must choose one of the two competing numbers, the NHL’s system allows for the arbitrators to choose a salary they deem reasonable.
It’s what happened with Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba earlier this month. Trouba asked for $7 million, compared to the Jets who offered $4 million. The arbitrator split the difference and awarded Trouba a $5.5-million deal.
It will be interesting to see what figure Ceci winds up with, and – should the two sides fail to settle beforehand – just how contentious his arbitration hearing will be given the amount of information available that sheds his play in a poor light.