Johnny Oduya isn’t going to wait for the Chicago Blackhawks to sort out their cap issues, instead electing to hit free agency without hesitation, according to ESPN Chicago.
That same report indicates that Oduya, 33, has already received inquiries from “several” teams.
A couple days ago, Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman indeed indicated that it might take some time for Chicago to figure out what they can do (and what free agents like Oduya and Brad Richards want), as CSNChicago.com noted.
“They need to decide where they’re going to go dollar-wise, and we need to figure out what we can possibly offer,” Bowman said.
This might be frustrating for Blackhawks fans, especially in the case of Oduya, who obviously served a big purpose in Chicago’s Stanley Cup run (which required grinding work by its top-four defense). At the same time, it’s clear that the Blackhawks are already in a significant cap crunch thanks in part to raises for Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, so challenges are ahead.
One can imagine Oduya’s agent merely filling his “resume” with photos of the defenseman raising the Stanley Cup, but his value extends beyond that.
Oduya didn’t generate a ton of points (10 during the regular season), yet his time on ice numbers will be a significant selling point, as he saw his ice time jump to 24:45 minutes per postseason contest. You can read more about his situation here, but simply enough, there aren’t many experienced (and still fairly young) blueliners on the market who are on par with him.
All things considered, Oduya is almost certainly out of Chicago’s price range, and it doesn’t sound like either side is really denying that.