Patrick Sharp

Oduya signs with the Stars — two years, $7.5 million

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Johnny Oduya has signed a two-year, $7.5 million contract with the Dallas Stars.

“Johnny is a steady, veteran presence on the blue line and he’ll complement our group nicely,” GM Jim Nill said in a release. “He has achieved a great deal of success, winning the Stanley Cup twice, and his championship-mentality will be valuable in our room.”

Oduya had wanted to remain in Chicago. The 33-year-old spent two weeks as an unrestricted free agent, waiting to see if the Blackhawks could clear cap space. But in an interesting twist, his fate may have been determined when Chicago traded Patrick Sharp to the Stars, with veteran defender Trevor Daley coming to the ‘Hawks in return.

That left an opening on a relatively inexperienced Stars blue line. In fact, Oduya is now the oldest defenseman in Dallas. The next oldest is Alex Goligoski, who’s 29.

Oduya won’t be back with Blackhawks: agent

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He wanted to stay, and they wanted to keep him.

Reality got in the way.

Per CSN Chicago, unrestricted free agent Johnny Oduya will not be back with the Chicago Blackhawks. The agent for the 33-year-old defenseman confirmed it Tuesday.

Oduya’s time in Chicago was all but officially ended when the ‘Hawks acquired veteran defender Trevor Daley from the Dallas Stars in the Patrick Sharp trade. With GM Stan Bowman unable to shed Bryan Bickell’s cap hit, and with RFA forward Marcus Kruger in need of a new deal, well, at least Oduya went out on a high note.

“We know the reality. This is what it is,” he said prior to the Stanley Cup Final. “You’ve got to take care of the time you have in front of you.”

Buffalo and Dallas are considered among the favorites to sign Oduya. His decision is expected to be made today.

PHT Morning Skate: Columnist says Sharp’s contributions to ‘Hawks went beyond numbers

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Chicago lost more than Patrick Sharp’s offensive contributions when they dealt him. (Chicago Tribune)

T.J. Oshie ran into one of the two players he was traded for, Troy Brouwer, while touring Kettler Capitals Iceplex. (Washington Post)

Maple Leafs assistant general manager Kyle Dubas feels prospect Frederik Gauthier is “an interesting paradox.” (Toronto Star)

While some might have predicted Matt Beleskey would end up with a significantly bigger contract than the five-year, $19 million deal he signed, Beleskey wasn’t one of them. (Boston Herald)

When Noah Hanifin woke up on Saturday, he wasn’t sure that he would be signing with the Carolina Hurricanes that day, but ultimately he felt ready to go pro after spending a season with Boston College. (The News & Observer)

It looks like Mike Gillis, the former president and general manager of the Vancouver Canucks, will be teaching Sports Law at the University of Victoria. (UVIC)

Finally, we already mentioned it on Saturday, but if you haven’t read Sheldon Souray’s retirement letter then it really is worth it. There’s strong language in it though, so please keep that in mind. (The Players’ Tribune)

Sabres GM Murray still targeting Oduya

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With the Chicago Blackhawks still near the cap after trading Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp, unrestricted free agent Johnny Oduya might ultimately have a new home next season.

Sabres GM Tim Murray has been trying to lure over the 33-year-old defenseman and hasn’t given up as we near the third week of the UFA period.

“He hasn’t signed anywhere yet, so I haven’t moved on,” Murray told the Buffalo News.

He added that he is also looking at other free agents and trade opportunities.

For the record, Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman hasn’t ruled out re-signing Oduya. The defenseman, who has been waiting for the team to clear cap space for him, plans to make his decision within the next week, but Chicago would be allowed to go over the ceiling to sign him as long as it finds a way to get back under it in the fall.

If Buffalo is able sign him though, it would provide the team with a veteran leader that has won the Stanley Cup twice and can log around 20 minutes per game.

Sharp says so long to Chicago with heartfelt ad

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Food for thought: maybe newspapers are the true winners of each offseason.

It’s almost a cliche at this point: when someone spends a long time in a city, that player (or even coach) will take a full-page newspaper advertisement out to say goodbye and thank you. Considering his lengthy stay with the Chicago Blackhawks, it’s no surprise that Patrick Sharp did just that, placing an ad with newspapers including the Chicago Tribune:

(Sharp must have at least 1,000 photos of himself with the Stanley Cup, right? It must have taken him a while to choose the right one for this spot …)

During Saturday’s introductory press conference, the 33-year-old said he wasn’t sure when he would touch base in Dallas, but he noted that his wife has never been to Texas. One can only imagine the conflicting emotions Sharp must be dealing with at the moment, as a long journey comes to an end … but at least the Stars show interesting promise.

Here’s the full text of his lengthy letter:

I arrived in Chicago in 2005, not knowing the journey that the Blackhawks would take me over the next 10 years. This team gave me an opportunity to play, to grow and become the person I am today. I will always be grateful for the time I spent here.

Winning the Stanley Cup once was a dream come true; winning it three times, with three different groups of teammates, coaches and trainers, was the ultimate privilege as a player. I feel an overwhelming sense of pride when I look back on all that we’ve accomplished together.

Thank you to Rocky Wirtz, John McDonough, Stan Bowman and the entire Blackhawks family for allowing me to be a part of a world-class organization on and off the ice. Thank you to the fans for embracing me as a player and accepting me as a part of Chicago.

This city has meant so much to me and my family: Three Stanley Cup victories. The birth of Madelyn Grace and Sadie Ellen. Endless memories from the fans, my friends and teammates. For the Sharp family, Chicago has become home.

Thank you,

Patrick, Abby, Madelyn and Sadie Sharp