Johnny Oduya will be playing with some team in the 2015-16 season, but it won’t be the Blackhawks.
Oduya’s agent Don Meehan confirmed on Tuesday that the defenseman will not re-sign with the Blackhawks this season.
The news that became official on Tuesday wasn’t surprising. General manager Stan Bowman said most of this summer that they would like to bring Oduya back but financial issues were a concern. The Blackhawks have been tight up against the cap, which will be $71.4 million, all offseason.
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When the Blackhawks acquired defenseman Trevor Daley in the deal that sent Patrick Sharp to the Dallas Stars, it seemed to shut the door on Oduya’s time in Chicago even though Bowman said Oduya’s possible return with the team was “fluid” right after that trade.
The Blackhawks acquired Oduya from the Winnipeg Jets in February of 2012. He became a steady partner to fellow Swede Niklas Hjalmarsson and helped the Blackhawks win Stanley Cups in 2013 and again last month. Oduya just wrapped up his three-year contract that carried a $3.375 million cap hit.
It’s another key piece of the Blackhawks’ puzzle that will not be here this fall. The Blackhawks traded Brandon Saad to the Columbus Blue Jackets once it became clear they could not agree on a new contract.