So, here we are.
Throughout the season, I kept reading jokes about how the Penguins would buy Jack Johnson just to turn around and sign Cody Sessie, and now it’s just as the prophecy predicted.
The Penguins used half of their remaining payroll space on Saturday to sign Sessie for a one-year, $ 1.25 million contract, which is already extremely unpopular.
Let’s try to break this down in the most reasonable, rational and logical way possible.
This will not be a repetition of JJ. Not exactly, anyway
The easy thing you can do here is to scream how it̵
The problem with Johnson’s signing was not just the fact that he was wrongly included in the wrong team, which continued to play more than it should. It was also the fact that his contract was a long-term nightmare from the day of his signing and will still have long-term consequences, even after the game is over for the team due to the terms of its redemption.
This is not this contract. Not in dollars. Not on time.
He is also likely to be a true third-pair defender. They’ve always loved talking about Johnson as if he were a third-pair defender, but he routinely plays the role of a quartet (and sometimes even a first). That was crazy.
I want to say that the mistake will not be repeated here, because as long as everyone stays healthy, he literally has no place above the four. The Penguins wanted another right-back for depth, and that’s theoretically what Ceci is.
Chris Letang and John Marino have already locked the first two right-back positions and no one entering from outside will play over them.
Having said that …
It’s still bad
Signing the wrong player still means signing the wrong player, even if it’s cheap.
It’s funny to me how we look at these signatures and just say, “Well, he may not make the team better, but at least he’ll only make them worse in a year instead of five.”
The problem with Ceci is simple – when he is on the ice, his team performs poorly and outperforms (both in terms of raw numbers and in terms of other teammates) and does not actually do much to insult. Whether he makes 1.25 million or 5.25 million is irrelevant. The results are the same. His team is worse when he plays.
Ceci looks like another one of those players that the scouts absolutely loved during his draft year, they loved him as a prospect, and no one wants to close the book completely because he’s wrong about him.
So everyone keeps trying to make it work.
Something like, THIS team has used it wrong, but WE can fix it something.
It usually doesn’t work. At this age, at this point in their careers, most players are what they have come to be.
This is a cheap, short-term contract for a player that is probably not an upgrade over the domestic option they already had as a right-back for the third pair, Chad Ruhwedel.
The signing itself is gigantic fur, but still returns to the bigger common problem of all these little “fur” signatures, snowballs in a giant problem that ultimately keeps the rest of the team.
An extra million here, an extra million there, buying here, keeping a salary there, and suddenly you have a significant portion of your salary limit for players who either don’t help you or don’t even play for your team.
For the 2020-21 season, the Penguins will have nearly $ 5 million in salary space for Cecie, Nick Bugstad and Jack Johnson. The latter two will play for other teams, while the former will play – at best – in a third pair and perhaps at a lower level than the $ 700,000 domestic option he could play.
Imagine what they could do to a buyer’s market with an additional $ 5 million (on top of the $ 1.5 million left at the moment) sitting there for them.
Probably a lot. Maybe something significant.