The Chicago Blackhawks have reached an agreement with the Dallas Stars to acquire defenseman Johnny Oduya. In return, the Stars receive a conditional fourth round pick along with minor league forward Mark McNeill. If the Blackhawks win two rounds this postseason and Oduya plays in 50% of the games or more, the pick will be upgraded to a third rounder.
Oduya is no stranger to the Blackhawks as he spent parts of four seasons with the team from 2011-12 through 2014-15. He played a total of 219 regular season games with Chicago in that span, scoring nine goals and 34 assists while averaging 20:37 per game. He left the team to sign with Dallas in the summer of 2015.
The 35 year old rearguard has been slowed by ankle problems this season which took him out of the lineup on two separate occasions. As a result, he has suited up in just 37 games this year, tallying seven points (1-6-7) while logging a career low 18:10 per night in ice time.
Oduya should slot in as a considerable upgrade on the third pairing for the Blackhawks while giving them another option for their penalty kill. Alternatively, he could be slotted back alongside Niklas Hjalmarsson (when he returns which is expected to be next week) as the two played together in Oduya’s first stint with Chicago. Hjalmarsson was placed on injured reserve to free up a roster spot to make the deal.
From the financial side of things, the veteran rearguard carries a cap hit of $3.75MM. However, the Stars will be retaining 50% as part of the deal.
As for McNeill, he has played in just one NHL game since being drafted in the first round (18th overall) back in 2011. He has spent the entire season with Chicago’s AHL affiliate in Rockford, scoring six goals while adding 22 assists in 58 games. He will report to Texas of the AHL.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.