USATSI_8671953_154158418_lowresThe Dallas Stars have signed defenceman Johnny Oduya, becoming the latest player to leave the Chicago Blackhawks fold after their latest Stanley Cup win.

Oduya joins the likes of Patrick Sharp, Brandon Saad, Brad Richards, and Antoine Vermette as former Blackhawks now set to see action in other locales.

The path for Oduya’s exit was likely set for good with the signing of Trevor Daley by the Blackhawks. With just $900,000 of cap space left at that point, it was clear that Oduya would have to go. The 33-year-old defenceman had signed a three year deal in 2011-2012 after coming over from the Winnipeg Jets for draft picks in February of 2012.

And now the Stars have signed him to a two year deal worth a reported $7.5 million, reuniting him with Chicago teammate Sharp on a new and refreshed squad that looks to be making some serious waves.

Oduya has won two Cups with the Blackhawks in the past three seasons and was good for 10 points in 76 games last season. In 22 playoff games, he had five assists.

In nine NHL seasons with the New Jersey Devils, Atlanta Thrashers, Jets, and Blackhawks, Oduya has collected 31 goals and a total of 152 points over the course of 664 games.

The Columbus Blue Jackets and Buffalo Sabres were also in the running for Oduya’s services.

A sturdy defensive defenceman, Oduya is a solid skater with good hockey sense. He can be employed in a shutdown role, but his offensive upside is obviously limited and he isn’t a consistently aggressive hockey player. Oduya was a nice fit in Chicago’s top four and the Stars are looking for more of the same as he joins their group.

The Dallas D also includes Alex Goligoski, John Klingberg, Jason Demers, Patrik Nemeth, Jordie Benn, and Jyrki Jokipakka. The Stars hope that Oduya will bring some steadiness and experience to the young group.

“Johnny is a steady, veteran presence on the blueline and he’ll complement our group nicely,” Stars general manager Jim Nill said. “He has achieved a great deal of success, winning the Stanley Cup twice, and his championship mentality will be valuable in our room.”

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