Dallas Stars Sign Free Agent Defenseman Johnny Oduya For Next Two Seasons

The Dallas Stars signed Johnny Oduya to shore up the NHL experience on their blueline today.

It had been rumored that Johnny Oduya was hoping to return to the Blackhawks if Chicago could work out its salary cap problems, but the acquisition of Trevor Daley from the Stars made that much less likely. Then there were reports he turned down a 3 year / $15 million deal from the Buffalo Sabres.

He did not turn down an offer from the Dallas Stars, however, as he signed with Dallas this morning for the next two years. We'll update with the value of the contract as soon as we find it - it hasn't been released yet.

[Editor Update: Contract details are released!]

That he eventually ended up in Dallas isn't entirely a surprise. We wrote about rumors that the Stars were lurking around Oduya last week, and earlier this summer we talked about how he might fit well in the Dallas system.

Oduya, 33 and turning 34 at the beginning of the season, played the last four seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks and picked up a pair of Stanley Cups for his time. He started his career with the New Jersey Devils and had also spent time with the Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets franchise in his nine NHL seasons.

While he put up nearly 30 points twice with the Devils, after leaving that franchise he has taken on more of defensive role. Paired mainly with Nicklas Hjalmarsson, he had the second-lowest offensive zone start percentage of any of the Hawks defensemen last year (Hjalmarsson had the lowest) and drove possession forward, though his CorsiRel was lowest in that group.

Last season, Oduya 10 points in 76 games for the Stanley Cup champion Hawks, adding five assists in the playoffs. He averaged a little less than 18 minutes a game in the regular season, and while he was a positive possession player (like most of the Hawks), he was slightly in the negative in both scoring chances and high-danger scoring chances allowed.

Oduya is the second-oldest player on the roster behind Vernon Fiddler. Third on the list is Patrick Sharp, acquired Friday evening as part of the trade that sent Trevor Daley and Ryan Garbutt to Chicago. Both moves would strongly point toward the Stars being serious about "win now" mode.

The other implication of the trade is on the defensive core, which once again has eight signed players with a possible ninth challenger in newly acquired prospect Stephen Johns. The logjam means the Stars are almost certain to trade someone off the defense, though it may not happen until training camp, after the team has let a competition for roster spots play out.