Author: Jason Brough

Johnny Oduya

UFA of the Day: Johnny Oduya


Check PHT every day until June 30 for a new pending unrestricted free agent of the day. Today’s UFA of the Day is…

Johnny Oduya

One of the four workhorse defensemen for the Blackhawks, Oduya was a huge part of Chicago’s 2015 Stanley Cup run. The 33-year-old was on the ice more than Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, and every other ‘Hawk forward. Besides goalie Corey Crawford, only Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson played more than Oduya did.

But Oduya also understands the situation. The Blackhawks are facing a cap crunch. There will be changes to the roster.

“We know the reality,” he said just before the finals. “This is what it is.”

It’s certainly not out of the question that GM Stan Bowman will try to shed salary in an attempt to re-sign Oduya. After all, we saw this past season how the loss of a top-four defenseman can impact a good team. The Bruins badly missed Johnny Boychuk. Ditto for the Kings with Slava Voynov.

And while it’s true the Blackhawks have some good, young defensemen in the organization, is there one they feel comfortable slotting into a top-four role? Currently, only Keith, Seabrook, and Hjalmarsson are under contract for next season.

Perhaps Mike Reilly’s decision will impact what the Blackhawks do with Oduya. Reilly, like Oduya, shoots left. But again, Reilly has never played in the NHL. Stephen Johns and Ville Pokka haven’t either. Trevor van Riemsdyk is still inexperienced.

To be sure, if the Blackhawks decide they can’t keep Oduya, there will be interest from other teams. The Colorado Avalanche, to name just one potential suitor, are looking for a left-shot D.

“It’s just one of those things where you really don’t know the answers, you don’t know the outcomes,” said Oduya.

But we’ll know soon.

Click here for more UFAs.

Granlund’s agent on contract talks with Wild: ‘I wouldn’t say we’re way off’

Mikael Granlund #64 of the Minnesota Wild skates against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on February 1, 2013 in Anaheim, California.
(January 31, 2013 - Source: Jeff Gross/Getty Images North America)

Not only do the Minnesota Wild still have to get Devan Dubnyk signed, they also have a trio of restricted free agents — Mikael Granland, Erik Haula and Christian Folin — in need of new deals.

Granlund, the former ninth overall draft pick, finished with 39 points in 2014-15, the fifth most on the team. The 23-year-old’s agent provided an update on contract talks to the StarTribune.

“We’ve been talking on and off since training camp basically,” said Todd Diamond. “I wouldn’t say we’re way off. It’s like a marathon. The last half mile is the most difficult. I would surmise that’s where we are.”

While Granlund, 23, is obviously a big part of the Wild’s future, Dubnyk, an unrestricted free agent, will be GM Chuck Fletcher’s priority until July 1.

According to the StarTribune, Fletcher will meet with Dubnyk in Las Vegas at next week’s NHL Awards and, soon after that, he’ll meet with Dubnyk’s agent, Mike Liut, at the draft in Florida.

Yesterday, the Wild confirmed their intentions to buy out winger Matt Cooke in order to gain some additional room under the cap.

Murphy, Laperriere, Mullen to remain Flyers assistant coaches

Edmonton Oilers v Philadelphia Flyers

Dave Hakstol will have the same assistant coaches that Craig Berube did.

The Flyers announced this morning that Gord Murphy, Ian Laperriere and Joe Mullen will all be back next season.

The announcement — a surprise to some — comes a day after the Sabres added Terry Murray to Dan Bylsma’s staff. Murray confirmed to the Philadelphia Inquirer that he met with Hakstol to discuss a position with the Flyers.

“We had lunch and did a lot of talking,” Murray said. “I was hoping something good happened from it.”


Related: For NHL rookie Hakstol, the right assistant coaches will be key