Johnny Oduya

Johnny Oduya joins Blackhawks All-Decade Team

Johnny Oduya joins Blackhawks All-Decade Team

Throughout the 2019-20 season, NBC Sports Chicago will be unveiling its Blackhawks All-Decade Team. The roster will feature the 14 forwards, 7 defensemen and two goaltenders that made the biggest impact on the franchise from the 2010 through 2019 seasons.

Parts of five seasons, two Stanley Cup titles. 

Johnny Oduya had one heck of run with the Blackhawks after coming over in a deadline day deal with the Winnipeg Jets in February 2012. The defenseman made up half the Blackhawks' dynamic Swedish duo, alongside Niklas Hjalmarsson, his longtime partner.

Oduya was a consistent presence on the Blackhawks' blue line and head coach Joel Quenneville leaned on him heavily during the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Oduya averaged 24:45 time on ice per game, No. 4 on the team behind fellow defensemen Duncan Keith (31:07), Brent Seabrook (26:17) and Hjalmarsson (26:02).

Defense aside, Oduya also had several big playoff moments in the offensive zone during his Blackhawks tenure. He:

-Scored the go-ahead goal in the third period in Game 1 of the 2013 Western Conference semifinals vs. the Detroit Red Wings, and

-Scored the tying goal in the third period in Game 1 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. The Blackhawks went on to win the game in the third overtime period.

Oduya was one of many Blackhawks salary cap casualties during the six-year championship run. He departed in free agency after the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2015, joining the Dallas Stars on a two-year deal. The Blackhawks brought him back in February 2017 for a 15-game cameo, however, acquiring him from Dallas five years and a day after they acquired him from Winnipeg.

Oduya played a major role in two Chicago Stanley Cup championships. For that, he's earned a place on our Blackhawks All-Decade team on the third defense pairing.

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Johnny Oduya finds a new home in Eastern Conference

Johnny Oduya finds a new home in Eastern Conference

Johnny Oduya is headed to the Eastern Conference.

The 35-year-old defenseman signed a one-year, $1 million deal with the Ottawa Senators. The contract could be worth up to $1.25 million with incentives.

Oduya, who the Blackhawks re-acquired prior to the trade deadline last season from the Dallas Stars, finished with two goals and seven assists in 52 games between the two teams.

It comes to no one's surprise that the Blackhawks didn't re-sign the veteran defenseman.

After being swept in the first round of the playoffs last season by the Nashville Predators, Stan Bowman has made it clear the Blackhawks are headed in a different direction, and their offseason has been plenty of busy so far. Headline deals included trading Oduya's linemate Niklas Hjalmarsson to the Arizona Coyotes for 24-year-old defenseman Connor Murphy and re-acquiring Brandon Saad from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Artemi Panarin.

Oduya heads to a Senators team which got ousted in the Eastern Conference Final in seven games to the eventual Stanley Cup Champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Reunited: Patrick Sharp is officially back with the Blackhawks

Reunited: Patrick Sharp is officially back with the Blackhawks

On July 10, 2015 Patrick Sharp was another one of the Blackhawks’ salary-cap casualties. Now he’s the latest former player brought back into the fold.

Sharp’s return became official on Saturday morning, as the NHL free agency period began. He signs a one-year deal for a reported $1 million (per Bob McKenzie, $800,000 base salary and $200,000 in bonuses), a sizeable pay cut from the $5 million he earned last season.

It’s another instance in which the Blackhawks are bringing back a player who was a big part of their Stanley Cup-winning years. Brandon Saad was reacquired last week from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Brian Campbell (offseason) and Johnny Oduya (trade deadline) were back last season.

Sharp is coming off a tough season with the Dallas Stars, especially with injuries. A concussion he sustained early last season sidelined him twice, and a hip injury prevented him from being a potential trade target last February. Sharp underwent hip surgery in March; the expected recovery time was 4-5 months.

Money-wise, the deal is a friendly one for a team with little to spend. The Blackhawks began Saturday nearly $3 million over the $75 million salary cap set for the 2017-18 season. A team can go 10 percent over the cap during the summer but has to be at or under the cap the day the season starts.