Blackhawks keep Jamal Mayers, Johnny Oduya in the mixContinue reading.
Blackhawks acquire defenseman Johnny Oduya from Jets; trade enforcer John Scott to Rangers
The Blackhawks were in desperate need of a defenseman, especially with Steve Montador and Niklas Hjalmarsson battling injuries. The market was thin but general manager Stan Bowman grabbed one in veteran Johnny Oduya.
The Hawks acquired Oduya from the Winnipeg Jets on Monday. The Jets are run by GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, who was Bowman’s assistant previously with the Hawks. The Hawks sent the Jets second- and third-round picks in 2013.
The Hawks are yet to officially announce the move, pending a trade call with the NHL. The Jets claimed Grant Clitsome, formerly of the Columbus Blue Jackets, off waivers earlier Monday.
Defenseman/enforcer John Scott was shipped to the New York Rangers in exchange for a fifth-round pick in 2012.
Oduya, 30, has two goals,13 points and a minus-9 rating in 63 games this season for the Jets. He’s a defensive-minded blue-liner who began his career with the New Jersey Devils. He’s in the final year of a three-year deal carrying a $3.5 million cap hit.
“My initial is, for sure, excitement,” Oduya said. “It’s a [Stanley] Cup contender I would say every year, a very good team. It’s a great place to play, a great city. Their crowds are great. It’s a tough arena for opponents to come in and play.”
Oduya brings experience to a Hawks’ blue line that was relying too much on 20-year-old Nick Leddy and 21-year-old Dylan Olsen this season. He shouldn’t be expected to improve the Hawks’ inept power play. But Oduya should help on the penalty kill. He’s averaging more than two minutes per game this season on the PK. Oduya averaged just over 19 minutes per game with the Jets, the fifth-most among their defensemen.
“One correct defenseman can put everybody else in the right spot,” former NHL coach Marc Crawford told the Sun-Times recently. “It doesn’t mean that Leddy has to play an exorbitant amount. It doesn’t put as much strain on [Duncan] Keith or [Brent] Seabrook. [Niklas] Hjalmarsson can be what he is instead of a guy who has to manufacture more.”
Scott played in 29 games this season, averaging less than seven minutes per game. Scott was considered a favorite of coach Joel Quenneville’s. The Hawks often said they liked having him in the lineup for the protection he provided, but his low minutes often became the angst of Hawks fans. Scott will be an unrestricted free agent after the season.
“Best of luck to the big man in NYC #willbemissed,” Hawks forward Viktor Stalberg tweeted Monday.
“Best of luck to the big man in the Big Apple! #greatguygreatwit,” Hawks tough guy Jamal Mayers also tweeted.