Oduya coming back to Blackhawks

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • The Chicago Blackhawks will welcome back Johnny Oduya for the rest of this season as general manager Stan Bowman pulled off a trade to acquire the defenseman by sending Mark McNeill and a conditional fourth-round draft pick in 2018 to the Dallas Stars.

    The Chicago Blackhawks will welcome back Johnny Oduya for the rest of this season as general manager Stan Bowman pulled off a trade to acquire the defenseman by sending Mark McNeill and a conditional fourth-round draft pick in 2018 to the Dallas Stars. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 2/28/2017 7:57 PM

So much for standing pat.

In a move that does wonders to solidify their blue line, the Blackhawks brought back an old friend in defenseman Johnny Oduya by sending Mark McNeill and a conditional fourth-round pick to Dallas on Tuesday. As part of the deal, the Stars retained half of Oduya's salary.

 

General manager Stan Bowman, who thought he was done dealing after acquiring winger Tomas Jurco from Detroit on Friday, was not available for comment. He will speak to reporters after the trade deadline, which is Wednesday at 1 p.m. Central time.

Oduya, who will be an unrestricted free agent after the season, won two Stanley Cups in Chicago during his time here from 2012-15 and returns to a powerful team that once again has an excellent chance to make a deep run. The 35-year-old D-man recently missed six weeks with an ankle injury but returned Sunday when Dallas lost to Boston.

A healthy Oduya means the Hawks, who have won nine of 10 and are trying to chase down first-place Minnesota in the Central Division, have a back end that's easily as strong as the one from their title run in 2015. Joel Quenneville's top five now consists of Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Brian Campbell and Oduya. Trevor van Riemsdyk, Michal Kempny, Michal Rozsival and Gustav Forsling (who is in Rockford) will likely fill the sixth role based on who is playing best.

Hjalmarsson, out with an upper-body injury until at least March 9, was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Feb. 23.

Oduya had 1 goal and 3 assists in 37 games while averaging 18:10 of ice time with Dallas this season. After Rozsival was injured in the second round in 2015, he teamed up with Keith, Seabrook and Hjalmarsson to basically form a four-man show that helped propel the Hawks to their third title in six years.

McNeill, whom the Hawks drafted with the 18th overall pick in 2011, never panned out and -- other than one game last year -- spent his entire pro career playing in Rockford.

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