June 24, 2024

As the NHL trade deadline looms, the Pittsburgh Penguins appear to be on the brink of a substantial roster overhaul. Prominent figures such as Jake Guentzel, Reilly Smith, and Alex Nedeljkovic have emerged as prime candidates for potential trades, particularly with the Penguins’ playoff aspirations appearing dim.

Among these names, Guentzel has garnered the most attention and is poised to fetch the Penguins a substantial return. However, the exact nature of this return remains uncertain. The Edmonton Oilers are rumored to be among the teams still vying for Guentzel’s services, presenting an intriguing prospect with multiple ties to the Penguins.

David Pagnotta of the Fourth Period has highlighted the possibility of defenseman Cody Ceci being traded out of Edmonton to accommodate any incoming additions the Oilers may make. If Edmonton is pursuing Guentzel, Ceci could potentially be included in the return package.

Given the need to clear cap space for significant acquisitions, Ceci might become a casualty in Edmonton’s financial restructuring. Currently carrying a $3.25 million cap hit with one more year left on his contract, Ceci’s departure could help balance the books for the Oilers.

Ceci had a noteworthy stint with the Penguins during the truncated 2020-21 season, reviving his career with 17 points (four goals and 13 assists) in 53 games. Subsequently, he inked a four-year deal with the Oilers, leaving him with one more year on his contract beyond the 2023-24 season. Apart from his tenure as a Penguin, Ceci also shares a connection with a prominent figure in the Penguins’ front office.

Before joining the Penguins, Ceci had a stint with the Toronto Maple Leafs, during which Kyle Dubas served as the general manager. Ahead of the 2019-20 season, Dubas signed Ceci to a one-year deal with the Maple Leafs.

As frontrunners emerge in the Guentzel trade discussions, a potential return to Pittsburgh for Ceci appears increasingly logical if the Oilers take the lead. With Edmonton needing to clear cap space to accommodate incoming contracts, Ceci’s prior familiarity with the Penguins organization could facilitate a smooth transition.

Ceci’s previous ties to both the Penguins and Dubas make him a compelling candidate for a return to Pittsburgh should the circumstances align.

Former Defenseman Could Return to Penguins

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