Blackhawks welcome back Oduya

Isi Frank Ativie, Contributor

As the Chicago Blackhawks are on a quest to clinch their eighth straight playoff appearance, they managed to bring back solid defenseman Johnny Oduya from the Dallas Stars.

The 35-year-old veteran was in his last year of his contract with the Stars, when he was traded in exchange for Blackhawks prospect forward Mark McNeil and a 2017 fourth round draft pick.

The Swedish native started his NHL career in the 2006-07 season with the New Jersey Devils. Oduya was eventually traded to the Atlanta Thrashers in 2009. He joined the Chicago Blackhawks roster in February of 2012 after a half season stint with the Atlanta Thrashers.

Oduya helped the hawks to capture the Stanley Cup in 2013 during his second year with the team. He assisted on Dave Bolland’s game winning goal in game six of the finals against the Boston Bruins. He eventually led them to another championship two years later. Unfortunately, the 2015 Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup winning team was his last season with the Blackhawks, as NHL all-star Patrick Sharp and Oduya were traded to the Dallas Stars in July of 2015.

Oduya’s return can help the hawks to regain their defensive core by being more aggressive and affective on the penalty killing unit, along with his defensive partners Niklas Hjalmarsson and Michal Rozsival.

General manager Stan Bowman’s decision on bringing back Oduya will give the Hawks an advantage to clinch their second Central Division title in five seasons, as well as hopefully cruise to another successful run in the Stanley Cup playoffs, starting April 12.

The Hawks are on a mission to capture their fourth Stanley Cup championship in eight seasons, and Oduya might be the man who helps make it all happen.

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