Mike Heika writes that the development of Dallas’ young defenseman has been helped by the presence of Johnny Oduya. The four defenseman standing to benefit, Patrik Nemeth, Jamie Oleksiak, Stephen Johns and Esa Lindell, have the two-time Stanley Cup champion defenseman patrolling the blue line. General manager Jim Nill talked about Oduya’s professionalism and dedication to the sport and how it plays a huge role in the development of younger players:
“It’s hard to tell his age, because he’s in such great shape. He’s a consummate professional, and he’s the kind of guy that players naturally attract to. They want to ask him what he’s eating and why. They want to know how he’s working out.”
Oduya was signed as a free agent by the Stars in 2015 and defenseman Stephen Johns followed from Chicago when he was dealt along with Patrick Sharp to the big D. Johns commented on Oduya’s leadership, especially during a rough series for Johns against Minnesota during the 2016 playoffs. Johns said that Oduya’s words of wisdom were instrumental in his confidence growing.
Though the Stars are 3-3-1, the steady Oduya should help the younger defensive corps bring the Stars back to its expected perch as one of the best in the West.
In other NHL news:
- The Red Wings have guaranteed one of their young defenseman an extended stay with the big club writes MLive’s Ansar Khan. Khan answered a number of questions and regarding young defenseman Ryan Sproul, the club has apparently told Sproul to a find a place to live in the Detroit area. Khan reports that Sproul will duke it out with Alexey Marchenko and Xavier Ouellet for a final spot on the blue line when Niklas Kronwall returns from a knee injury. When Tomas Jurco returns, Khan opines that it will most likely be Ouellet as the odd man out, which would mean being exposed to waivers.
- Khan also answers about the Red Wings’ likelihood of obtaining Jacob Trouba or Cam Fowler via a trade, but from the sounds of it, Trouba is still a far fetched option while Fowler might end up staying in Anaheim after all. Khan says that the Ducks may reconsider moving Fowler should their offensive woes continue. Trouba, on the other hand, will simply cost too much for the Wings to trade for, and the young, left handed defenseman the Jets seek in return is something Detroit cannot provide.