The Chicago Blackhawks will be minus the services of one of their most experienced defensemen for the next while.
On Monday, ‘Hawks head coach Joel Quenneville announced that Johnny Oduya would be gone for “a couple of weeks,” with an upper-body injury suffered during Sunday’s blowout home loss to Boston.
Oduya, 33, has struggled at times this year, scoring just two goals and five points in 60 games with a minus-9 rating. Set to become a UFA at season’s end, this could end up being his last year in Chicago — acquired at the deadline three years ago, the Swedish rearguard was instrumental in the ‘Hawks Stanley Cup victory of 2013 (scoring three goals and eight points in 23 games) but has been exposed during Chicago’s recent swoon for some poor defensive play and decision-making.
Regardless, his presence will be missed.
Oduya has been a constant in the Chicago lineup this season, one of just nine skaters to have played every game. The ‘Hawks also lack depth on the back end as Nick Leddy and Adam Clendening have been traded, and Trevor van Riemsdyk is still hurt; with Oduya out, the club will now roll with a seven-man unit of Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Michal Roszival, David Rundblad, Kyle Cumiskey and Tim Erixon.