RD Cody Ceci
As the 2023 Stanley Cup playoffs unfolded, it became increasingly clear that the Edmonton Oilers had a notable weakness on their defence. While the top defensive pairing of Mattias Ekholm and Evan Bouchard performed admirably throughout the postseason, the same level of consistency was not seen from the subsequent pairing of Darnell Nurse and Cody Ceci.
Nurse and Ceci struggled to maintain the same level of defensive stability and effectiveness as their counterparts. Their play was marked by inconsistencies and lapses, which exposed the Oilers’ defensive shortcomings. This created challenges for the team, particularly in crucial moments of the playoffs where a strong defense is crucial for success.
Addressing this gap in the defensive pairing will be a key focus for the Oilers in the offseason. Evaluating their options to strengthen the defensive unit and provide more reliable support for the team will be a priority for the front office. Whether through internal development, acquisitions, or strategic roster adjustments, the Oilers will need to find a solution to solidify their defensive depth.
The performance of Nurse and Ceci in the playoffs has shed light on the importance of shoring up the team’s defensive capabilities. The Oilers will likely seek to make necessary changes to enhance their defence and create a more formidable lineup for future playoff runs.