PITTSBURGH - While Cody Ceci went later than Central Scouting had him ranked, a fellow local product went earlier.
Mountain’s Slater Koekkoek, ranked 23rd, was picked 10th overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“We thought that, if not for the time that he missed, he would have been a top pick,”Lightning scout Chris Yzerman said of the Peterborough Petes defenceman. “We saw him a lot before his injury (last season) and loved his all-around game and the way he competes.”
The sixth-ranked Ceci followed five picks later, going to his hometown Senators.
The Petes have now had players picked in the first round five years in a row. Last spring, the Senators chose Peterborough teammmate Matt Puempel 24th overall.
“Matt Puempel obviously talked to me before today and said just go into it, hope for the best and it will all work out,” said Koekkoek. “I never could have dreamed that it would work out this well.”
GIVE HIM TIME
If Ceci hasn’t returned your call or text of congratulations yet, don’t worry. He’ll get to it.
“I haven’t got a chance to look at my phone or my Twitter or anything,” he said with a big grin. “But I’m sure it’s blown up right now. I hope I don’t get too much activity, because I’m in the States and there’d be roaming (charges). I’m sure all my buddies back home are going crazy right now. I’ll have to wait (to call them back), or just take the bill.”
MAKES YOU GO HMMM ...
Part of the reason the Senators are so interested in Rick Nash has to be their uncertainly over Daniel Alfredsson’s future. If their captain decides to retire, he’ll leave a big hole that a Nash could fill. “We have some kids that are going to be top players, let me assure you,” said GM Bryan Murray. “The decision is two-fold in that you want to get the player for today, but you pay the price for the future in some cases. We have some very good young players, if we just take our time. Maybe they’re not outstanding next year, but they’re going to be real good players in the future. We know that. That’s what you have to weigh as you go forward.” ... The worst thing about Twitter — perhaps the only bad thing — is the phonies. The fake Darren Dreger tweeted Friday afternoon that a deal sending Nash to the Senators was done. He caused quite a commotion, and in his dark, lonely basement apartment, he probably had himself quite the giggle. If somebody was smart enough to create Twitter, surely he’ll figure out a way to fix it.
Murray said a couple of his unrestricted free agents have rejected offers. “I don’t think today’s the day the day to announce that.” ... What the Senators really need is a veteran defenceman, right? Murray said he was going to get one, and he’s keeping to that. “I can’t see that it would happen today,” he said Friday morning, adding that he hadn’t had enough conversations to that end yet. Probably won’t happen Saturday, either ... Growing up, Ceci said he “really liked” Mike Fisher, Alfredsson and Zdeno Chara. “It’d be cool to share a dressing room with those guys, but most of them are traded now,” he said. He also remembers being on the ice with Senators during a skills competition as a youngster.
STUFF I THINK I THUNK
If the Blue Jackets are asking for Jason Spezza in a package for Nash, it doesn’t make sense. The Senators are interested in having Nash to play with Spezza. “It’s high enough, put it that way,” Murray said when asked if the price for Nash was too high. “It’s all in the eyes of the beholder, what the value is for this guy. Some teams rate him one way, some another way. I think Columbus is trying to do the right thing, in their way of thinking, and every team they talk to is likewise.”