Don’t look now but Jim Nill has done it one more time Stars fans. He just keeps helping this Dallas Stars team get better and better…one piece at a time. Johnny Oduya recently agreed to a 2 year/$7.5 million deal with the Stars. This move not only helped Dallas on defense, it also gave them another top 4 defenseman since they recently lost Trevor Daley in the Patrick Sharp trade.
The Stars and Blackhawks have been linked together a lot in the last few days. First, the Stars traded Trevor Daley and Ryan Garbutt to the Blackhawks for Patrick Sharp and Stephen Johns. Then, of course, the Stars signed Oduya away from the Hawks, giving Chicago even more cap flexibility. The Stars basically flipped Daley and Garbutt for Sharp, Oduya and Johns in a matter of days, which is quite impressive.
The first thing Oduya brings to the Stars defense is his veteran leadership and experience. Oduya won the Stanley Cup with the Hawks in 2012-13 and 2014-15, which means he knows what it takes to get it done on the biggest stages. He can spread that knowledge to the younger players on the roster. He will also have the opportunity to help guys like John Klingberg or Jyrki Jokipakka develop their game and become better leaders since they are the future of the team’s defense.
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Oduya is different from Daley in the scoring category. Daley was always a more offensive-minded defenseman while Oduya is a defensive-minded defensemen (if that makes sense). He only had 10 points last season but his defense definitely makes up for it. He had a magical bond with Niklas Hjalmarsson in Chicago. The duo was able to keep the opposing shot count down and with a solid linemate in Dallas, Oduya could get back to more of that in the 2015-16 season.
It’s unclear whether Oduya will play on the first defensive line or the second but I would assume it’s probably going to be the second. Him and Jason Demers could form some nice chemistry and I also feel like the Stars want to pair Klingberg with Goligoski to further his learning. However, you never know what the Stars might be thinking of, so anything could happen.
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It was obvious that Oduya wanted to be in Dallas because he rejected a 3 year/$15 million to play with the Sabres. A few insiders feel like he went to Dallas because they seemed ready to start winnning now. Oduya is already 33 years old so he wanted to go somewhere to start contending again. Oh, and it probably helped that newly-acquired Patrick Sharp reached out to Oduya too.
This signing feels like it got the Stars so much closer to being a Stanley Cup contender, if they aren’t already. They now have more experience on defense and a solid top 4 to protect whoever is in net. Unless something crazy happens, which it could, I expect that to be the last move the Stars make in free agency. There’s no question they got everything they wanted and more this summer and it looks like they’re ready to begin their mission to bring the Cup back to Dallas.
You can hear Jim Nill speak about Johnny Oduya in the video below: