Dallas lands another ex Blackhawks player: Oduya
Well, that didn't take long.
Less than 24 hours after Johnny Oduya's agent said he wasn't coming back to the Blackhawks, the defenseman agreed to a two-year contract with the Dallas Stars for $7.5 million on Wednesday.
Oduya told reporters via a conference call that he was trying to re-sign with the Hawks since the free-agency period opened on July 1, but as more and more time passed it became evident he would be playing elsewhere next season.
He wouldn't say if other offers were more lucrative than the one from Dallas, but the 33-year-old veteran did admit that Patrick Sharp -- who was traded to the Stars last Friday -- played a role in him deciding to play there. Via text, Sharp gave some glowing reports of the Dallas organization.
"I don't know if that was the breaking point in making a decision but of course, if you have a guy like that giving (Dallas) a lot of credit, that's something you take in your evaluation," Oduya said. "It's always nice to have somebody in the same situation, doing the same thing as you. That's something I see as a plus going forward."
In the last six days, the Stars essentially replaced defenseman Trevor Daley with Oduya, while adding promising defenseman Stephen Johns and Sharp. Stars general manager Jim Nill said he has known Oduya since his days as a scout in Detroit when Oduya was just 17 or 18 years old.
Nill couldn't be more thrilled about the acquisition, calling Oduya "the last piece of the puzzle" for a team trying to make the playoffs for just the second time since the 2007-08 season.
"What I love about Johnny Oduya is the way he lives his life," Nill said. "You heard him on the phone: He's just going to come in and play to win. … He prepares right. He's a fitness fanatic. …
"I know that's going to be huge for our young guys. Anytime you have somebody of that pedigree -- and it's not just coming out of his mouth, it's just him being himself -- that's the most important part for me."
Dallas finished 41-31-10 last season (92 points), which was 7 points behind Winnipeg for the final playoff berth in the tough Western Conference. On paper, Nill's squad appears to have enough to earn a playoff spot next year.
"The potential was there (last year)," Oduya said. "It could be just a matter of one or two players maybe maturing more, taking that extra step and kind of break through that barrier. …
"I think all parts look good. It's just a matter of taking that next step and really playing it all the way out. I see (the Stars) as (having) good a chance as any team."