Another day, another potential free agent defenseman off the list.
This time, you can scratch Johnny Oduya’s name off — the 30-year-old has agreed to a three-year extension with the Chicago Blackhawks, according to the team website.
Oduya arrived in Chicago at the February trade deadline and quickly became a favorite of ‘Hawks forward Patrick Kane, who said the Swedish blueliner made “plays that forwards dream of”. Oduya finished the regular season with 1G-4A-5PTS in 18 games, then proceeded to lead all ‘Hawks defensemen with three assists in a first-round playoff loss to Phoenix.
His signing thins out an already svelte market and follows the trend of teams re-upping with their free agent defensemen. Lesser-lights like Jamie McBain, Alexander Sulzer, Clayton Stoner stuck with Carolina, Buffalo and Minnesota respectively while Philadelphia locked in Nicklas Grossman after acquiring him at the deadline.
We’re still waiting on the financial terms of Oduya’s deal, though CSN Chicago’s Chris Boden says “his understanding” is that Oduya took a pay cut from his last deal ($3.5 million annually) in exchange for longer term.
UPDATE: TSN’s Darren Dreger says the deal has an average annual salary of $3.357 million.