Tuesday, February 28, 2017

NHL trade review: Oduya headed back to Hawks for McNeil

Oduya (above) with Stanley Cup as a member of the Hawks
   The Chicago Blackhawks have acquired defenseman Johnny Oduya from the Dallas Stars in exchange for center Mark McNeil and a conditional 4th round draft pick in the 2017 NHL draft. Let's get into details.
     The Blackhawks are in the middle of a current day dynasty. They have won 3 Stanley Cups in the last 7 years. For two of those Cup wins (2013 and 2015) Oduya was on the team. But Cap issues forced the Hawks to trade both Oduya and winger Patrick Sharp (who also could be dealt soon) to Dallas. To get back Oduya is key, and can help their defensive core. Oduya can play with Niklas Hjalmarsson, whom he played with on the Cup teams. The Hawks have shaky depth, but with the acquisition of forward Tomas Jurco recently, GM Stan Bowman could trade McNeil. A 4th round pick isn't much. Depending on the Hawks playoff success this year, the pick can turn into a third rounder, but it would be worth it. Oduya is an upcoming UFA, but might re-sign with the club. Oduya, 35, has 7 points (a goal and 6 assists) in 37 games this season. He has 180 points (36 goals and 144 assists) in 783 career NHL games for the Stars, the Hawks, the Winnipeg Jets/Atlanta Thrashers and the New Jersey Devils. In his time with the Blackhawks from 2011-12 to 2014-15, Oduya had 43 points (9 goals and 34 assists) in 219 games.
         The Stars are sellers this season. They traded winger Patrick Eaves to the Anaheim Ducks. Defenseman Jordie Benn was dealt to the Montreal Canadiens. It's not a surprise that the 35 year old Oduya, who is can also be a UFA on July 1, was traded. They received a solid center in McNeil. GM Jim Nill knows about the Hawks' playoff success, and could get a 3rd rounder out of it. McNeil, 24, has 1 career NHL game. He had an even rating that game, 0 PIM and no points. That game was also last year, so he hasn't played in the NHL this year. He has 28 points (6 goals and 22 assists) in 58 games for Rockford (AHL) this season.   

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