Junior hockey teams are used to losing key players to their franchises as they age out, but thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, many players are graduating before finishing what they started. Ottawa 67’s goaltender Cedrick Andree is one of those players who has likely played his last game in the league, assuming eligibility of overagers is not extended. The fan-favourite goofball will be moving on to bigger and better things, which is a tough pill to swallow for the 67’s and their fans.
How We Got Here
In 2016, the 67’s used the 232nd-overall pick in the OHL Priority Selection to take a goaltender from the Ottawa Senators’ Midget ‘AAA’ program in the OEMHL. Looking back on it now, you have to wonder if the 67’s knew he would become a star. Andree was exceptional with the ‘AAA’ Senators with a 1.56 goals-against average (GAA) and a .946 save percentage (SV%) in 28 games.
For the 2016-17 season, Andree attended 67’s training camp, but had no clear path to the 67’s crease. This led him to The Gunnery Prep School in the United States where he would get considerable playing time before being signed by the Senators in the 2017 offseason.
“We’ve had our eye on Cedrick’s development over the past year and our goaltending coach Paul Schonfelder and our scouts are pleased with his progression and what we saw from him at Development Camp – we’ve signed him for a reason, he works extremely hard on the ice and won’t ever get outworked by anybody. He’s a very quick goaltender with a lot of upside and gets better every time he steps on the ice,” said former 67’s associate coach Mike Eastwood.
The 2017-18 season kicked off with Andree not seeing the playing time he had hoped for as Olivier Lafreniere and Olivier Tremblay were comfortably in the two goaltending spots, or so everyone thought. At one time, Lafreniere was looked at as the solution in the crease for the 67’s, but that all changed when they shipped him out to Owen Sound in December of 2017 in exchange for an eighth-round pick in 2019 (Parker Hendsee) and a conditional third-round pick in 2021 (the condition for this draft pick was not met, therefore the Attack will keep this selection.)
Finally, it was time for Andree to have his big opportunity, but if you thought it would get off to this amazing start, you would be mistaken. His first OHL action came against the Sudbury Wolves on Oct. 13, 2017. Just about the only way to describe this game from Andree’s standpoint was a complete disaster. No goalie ever wants to be scored on, especially not seven times. That was what happened to him that night, and it was just the start of a tough season for him. After 13 games, he had a GAA of 4.69 and a SV% .858, both far worse than he had been used to. However, for a rookie on a pretty bad team, it was a good starting point for him.
Ahead of the 2018-19 season, questions swarmed about who would take over the 67’s crease and if it would be enough to take them where they thought they should be able to go. Ultimately, Andree would become the team’s solidified starter with Will Cranley sliding into the backup role. Everything was working and the team was winning games, but the 67’s had had their eyes on Michael DiPietro for some time now. On Dec. 4, 2018, the 67’s pulled the trigger on a trade that would net them the league’s best goaltender, relegating Andree to the backup spot.
To his credit, Andree took this in stride, and if it did affect him, he didn’t let that show on the ice. He ended the season with a record of 34-5-4 and a SV% of .910, numbers that had 67’s fans excited about what the future with him would look like.
The 67’s rolled through the first three rounds of the playoffs and picked up wins in the first two games of the J. Ross Robertson Cup series against the Guelph Storm, but lost DiPietro in Game 2 to injury. Andree was given another chance, this time in the club’s most important games in a long time. He didn’t quite look like his normal self in the last four games of the series, ending the playoffs with a heart-breaking loss and a 5.15 GAA. Fans still appreciated what he did, however, and he would get another chance at glory in 2019-20 with a team that was just as good, if not better than the one who lost to Guelph.
Andree took yet another step forward in his development in the next season, but COVID-19 decided that no one was allowed to enjoy some of the things they love anymore, and the season was cancelled before the playoffs could start. Throughout his career, he has been subjected to a series of moments where he needed to go out and be better when he was already one of the best, and it was his ability to overcome these that made him one of the 67’s fan-favourite players.
What Makes Andree so Special?
Andree quickly became a fan favourite in Ottawa both with his on-ice success and his off-ice antics. He is a player who is a must-watch at his position, but more importantly, his interviews are some of the most entertaining next to John Tortorella and Ilya Bryzgalov. He’s funny, entertaining, and unlike many players in hockey, allows his personality to shine through at all times.
You can tell that he loves playing the game. Even in this drill, you can see how much fun he is having. This is an incredibly complex and difficult drill that is by no means very fun, but Andree makes it look easy and you can’t help but smile watching him do it.
Of course, people don’t typically latch on to bad players, and it does help that Andree has an innate ability to make a big save at a big time, like in the game against the Storm from the 2019-20 season that served as a measure of revenge for the 67’s.
There are just too many positive words to be said about Andree in his time with the 67’s. It’s a shame that it came to an end the way that it did. One thing is for certain, there will never be another one exactly like him, and no matter where he goes, a trail of fans will follow him.
What’s Next for Andree?
The recipient of the Dave Pinkney Trophy for the lowest team GAA in the OHL the past two seasons spent the 2020-21 season with the Belleville Senators in the AHL, but only saw game action twice. Nothing about his stats will amaze you so far in the AHL, but as a young player who was supposed to have another year of junior hockey under his belt before turning pro, they aren’t too bad at all. A GAA of 3.34 and a SV% of .878 aren’t where he wants them to be, but this is the same kind of story we saw at the start of his OHL career.
Where Andree will play the 2021-22 season remains to be seen, but whoever picks him up will get a great player and an even better person. As far as where he can go, we’ve learned that the sky is the limit for him. He always finds a way to be better, and that kind of player usually finds success at any level, so don’t be too surprised to see the name Cedrick Andree work his way onto an NHL roster someday.