Johnny Oduya split time between the Stars and Blackhawks in 2016-17, once again filling the defensive-minded role he's shouldered throughout his 11-year NHL career, as he notched just nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 52 games. There's no reason to believe the 35-year-old blueliner's role will be any different with the Senators in 2017-18, so it's hard to imagine a scenario in which Oduya's offensive production propels him to fantasy utility next season. Instead, the Swedish rearguard will likely be tasked with mentoring Ottawa's young defensive corps while also contributing to his new club as a penalty-killing specialist next campaign.
Oduya secured a one-year, $1 million deal with Ottawa on Monday. Oduya's contract includes performance bonuses that could earn him another $1.25 million over the course of the season. For a 35-year-old player that logged a mere 52 outings last year -- split between Dallas and Chicago -- it makes sense to have an incentive laden deal. The blueliner has cracked the 20-point threshold just three times in his career -- and just once since 2008-09 -- so fantasy owners probably shouldn't be expecting an offensively dominant campaign out of him.
Oduya (rest) will be fit to play in Thursday's game against the Ducks, Eric Lear of Blackhawks TV reports. Oduya reunited with the Blackhawks last Tuesday, when he was acquired from Dallas on the eve of the traded deadline. A respected leader from the blue line, Oduya helped bring the Stanley Cup to Chicago in 2013 and 2015. His primary skill is redirecting shots, having picked up 172 blocks in a full 2015-16 campaign and 81 in 37 games before leaving the Stars this year.
Oduya is not going to play until next Thursday, allowing him time to heal up for the stretch run, Brian Hedger of NHL.com reports. While he is reportedly healthy enough to play right now, Oduya has dealt with a multitude of injuries this season, and he's now one of the older players in the league at 35. The team will allow him some time to rest while Niklas Hjalmarsson heals his upper-body injury, and the two defenders are slated to reunite next Thursday against the Ducks.
The Stars traded Oduya to the Blackhawks in exchange for Mark McNeill and a conditional fourth-round pick Tuesday, TSN's Bob McKenzie reports. Oduya will head back to Chicago in hopes of making another deep playoff run with the team he's already won two Stanley Cups with. The 35-year-old blueliner has only drawn into 37 games this season due to injury, but he was activated off injured reserve Sunday and could slot into the Blackhawks' lineup as soon as Wednesday against Pittsburgh. This move won't mean much to fantasy owners, as Oduya's meager offensive production keeps him off the radar in most formats, but it will provide Chicago with another stable, veteran presence on the blue line down the stretch.
Oduya will arrive in Chicago on Wednesday, but he won't suit up for Wednesday night's showdown with the Penguins. Considering Oduya has not had a chance to practice with his old/new team yet, there's simply not enough time to figure out a place for him in the current lineup, and he'll likely watch Wednesday's game from a luxury box. Coach Joel Quenneville said he projects pairing Oduya with Niklas Hjalmarsson (upper body) once the latter is ready to return from injury.
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