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Agent: Johnny Oduya won't re-sign with Blackhawks

Agent: Johnny Oduya won't re-sign with Blackhawks
Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya during practice for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. (Anthony Souffle, Chicago Tribune)

The Blackhawks are saying goodbye to another key piece from their Stanley Cup run this season.

Defenseman Johnny Oduya, upon whom the Blackhawks leaned heavily during the playoffs, will sign with another team, his agent Don Meehan confirmed to the Tribune.

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The writing on the wall for Oduya appeared Friday when the Blackhawks acquired defenseman Trevor Daley in the deal that sent Patrick Sharp to the Stars.

Oduya had been waiting to see if the Blackhawks could clear salary-cap space to bring him back but with Daley's addition — and his $3.3 million cap hit — that seemingly became unworkable. The Stars, who also acquired defensive prospect Stephen Johns from the Hawks, signed Oduya to a two-year deal Wednesday worth $3.75 per season.

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Oduya now joins Sharp, winger Brandon Saad, centers Brad Richards and Antoine Vermette and defenseman Kimmo Timonen as those who hoisted the Stanley Cup but won't be back with the Blackhawks next season in an offseason of roster upheaval.

Oduya, 33, spent parts of four seasons with the Hawks after he was acquired in 2012 from the Jets for two draft picks. It was a move that didn't draw much acclaim from fans at the time, but in hindsight the trade seemed to accomplish what the Hawks had hoped. The two players selected with the picks the Hawks relinquished for Oduya, Zachary Sanford and J.C. Lipon, have yet to make their NHL debuts while Oduya has won two Cups with the Hawks.

Oduya signed a three-year, $10.125-million deal with the Hawks after the 2011-12 season.
In his time with the Hawks, Oduya was a reliable, durable blue liner who was essential to their last two Stanley Cups. With coach Joel Quenneville relying heavily on his top four defensemen this season, Oduya averaged 24 minutes, 45 seconds of ice time during the playoffs.

Oduya, a native of Stockholm, Sweden, proved he was capable of playing at a high level, but his price tag was out of reach for the Hawks, who still are working to re-sign another Swede, 25-year-old center Marcus Kruger.

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Essentially, Daley is Oduya's replacement on the roster because he commands a salary similar to Oduya's and will be a top four defensemen. Oduya is the more reliable option defensively while Daley packs more of an offensive punch with 16 goals last season. Oduya scored 12 goals in his three-plus seasons with the Hawks.

chine@tribpub.com

Twitter @ChristopherHine

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