Blackhawks

Johnny Oduya signs two-year deal with Dallas Stars

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Johnny Oduya signs two-year deal with Dallas Stars

Johnny Oduya was going to give the Blackhawks some time.

He won two Stanley Cups in Chicago. He contemplated re-signing here but it was going to take time to figure out things financially, given the Blackhawks’ salary-cap situation.

But it didn’t work out. And now, Oduya joins another former Blackhawks teammate on a division rival.

Oduya signed a two-year-contract worth $7.5 million ($3.75 cap hit) with the Dallas Stars on Wednesday. The Stars continue to grab Blackhawks, after trading for Patrick Sharp and Stephen Johns for Trevor Daley and Ryan Garbutt on Friday.

General manager Stan Bowman said last week after the Blackhawks acquired Daley that Oduya’s possible return was a “fluid” situation. Oduya had a cap hit of $3.375 in his final contract with the Blackhawks, who are just a shade under the $71.4 million cap they have to be under to start the season. But on Tuesday, Oduya’s agent Don Meehan confirmed that his client would not re-sign with the Blackhawks.

[MORE HAWKS: Daley, Garbutt ready to blend in with Blackhawks]

“Obviously they were trying to make something work. As a player, you want to wait when there’s somebody in the situation like that that’s willing to maybe look into a little bit more, that’s there’s an option to stay,” Oduya said via conference call on Wednesday. “But as time progresses, other things become more interesting and maybe you start to, how you say, see yourself in a different spot.”

Now Oduya joins a Stars team that is looking “to start moving up,” as their general manager Jim Nill said. The Stars have plenty of youth but were looking for defensive help and veteran leadership, especially after trading Daley. Oduya brings that.

“When we went back in spring and doing evaluation of the team, we knew we wanted to get strong on the back end. Once we knew we were going to lose Daley, [signing Oduya] was something we wanted to look at,” Nill said. “We were comfortable coming into the season. But if you can add someone of Johnny’s stature, you can’t go wrong.”

Sharp also possessed the leadership and Cup-winning pedigree the Stars wanted. Oduya said he got a text from Sharp a few days ago.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

“I don’t know if that was the breaking point in making a decision,” Oduya said. “But of course, if you have a guy like that giving [Dallas] a lot of credit, that’s something you take in your evaluation.”

The Blackhawks’ offseason of change continues. They’ve already parted ways with three players who played key roles in two or three of these Stanley Cup victories. They still have work to do. They want to re-sign Marcus Kruger; Kruger’s agent J.P. Barry said last week that he and Kruger will practice “patience” as they look for a multi-year contract.

Oduya and the Blackhawks tried to make it work again. It didn’t. Now Oduya sees himself in a different spot.

“Maybe last year was not the result [the Stars] wanted. But every time you played them they were a tough team to play against. The potential was there. It could be just a matter of one or two players maturing more, taking that extra step and breaking through that barrier,” Oduya said. “The leadership was good and the coaching is there now. There are some additions on goaltending, too. I think all parts look good. It’s just a matter of taking that next step.”

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Reacting to Round 1 of NHL Draft

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Reacting to Round 1 of NHL Draft

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle and Charlie Roumeliotis recap Round 1 of the 2018 NHL Draft.

They discuss the pair of puck-carrying defensemen that the Blackhawks selected on Friday, Adam Boqvist and Nicolas Beaudin. When can we expect to see these first-round picks play in the NHL?

Boyle also goes 1-on-1 with Boqvist and Beaudin. The guys spoke with Stan Bowman and Joel Quenneville on Friday.

The guys also share their biggest takeaways from those interviews, which includes your daily Corey Crawford update and Quenneville appeared excited that the team has plenty of cap space to spend in free agency.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Blackhawks add another defenseman to pipeline, draft Nicolas Beaudin at No. 27

Blackhawks add another defenseman to pipeline, draft Nicolas Beaudin at No. 27

DALLAS — Despite taking Adam Boqvist with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, the Blackhawks took a second defenseman at No. 27 with the selection of Nicolas Beaudin.

Beaudin is a 5-foot-11, 172-pound defenseman who prides himself on playing strong at both ends of the ice and tries modeling his game after Torey Krug of the Boston Bruins.

"I’m a two-way defenseman," Beaudin said. "I can provide offense, too. I’ve got a great IQ. I think in my zone I’m just getting better and better."

Beaudin is also a left-handed shot, which is something the Blackhawks could use more of in the organization along the blue line when it comes to impact-type players.

"Nicolas is a very efficient defender," Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said. "He’s got a really nice skill set. He makes the game look pretty easy. He’s a smooth player, not a lot of panic to his game. He’s a good skater so when he has to turn back and get to the puck he can get there first. Usually he just gets his setup and makes the simple play.

"You watch him play and he makes it look really easy. He’s not a guy that’s getting run over a lot. He’s not a real big player, but he uses his brain really well and he had over a point a game, too. He’s got a good feel for making plays and scoring points."

The 18-year-old registered 69 points (12 goals, 57 assists) in 68 games with the Drummondville Voltigeurs of the QMJHL, and added three goals and eight assists in 10 postseason contests.

Beaudin is the third defenseman the Blackhawks have taken in the first round the last two years, with Henri Jokiharju and Boqvist being the other two.

"It’s a winning culture in Chicago," Beaudin said. "They won a lot. I know they’ve got some young guys coming in. For sure in the next few years I want to earn my place and I want to try to learn a lot from a guy like Duncan Keith."