Oduya could be healthy scratch in Game 4


The Chicago Blackhawks got Johnny Oduya back at the trade deadline, with the hope he could rekindle his successful partnership with Niklas Hjalmarsson.

But it hasn’t worked out that way, and tomorrow in Nashville, Oduya could be a healthy scratch as the ‘Hawks try to avoid getting swept by the Predators.

Today at practice, Hjalmarsson was paired with Duncan Keith, Michal Kempny was with Brent Seabrook, and Brian Campbell was with Trevor van Riemsdyk.

Blackhawks vs. Predators: Watch Game 4 on Thursday (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN)

Kempy was a healthy scratch for the first three games of the playoffs. He hasn’t played since Apr. 6 in a 4-0 loss at Anaheim.

Oduya, meanwhile, is a minus-3 in the playoffs. Since the trade from Dallas, he’s actually spent most of his time paired with Seabrook, not Hjalmarsson.

Suffice to say, you can expect the Blackhawks’ blue line to go under the microscope this offseason. Oduya, 35, and Campbell, 37, are pending unrestricted free agents, and there’s a real need for an injection of youth.

The question is, who’s ready to make the leap? Prospects like Ville Pokka, Viktor Svedberg, and Erik Gustafsson have been in the system for a while now, and so far they’ve been unable to crack the NHL roster on a full-time basis. Gustav Forsling has potential, but he’s only 20 and may need more time in the AHL.