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Johnny Oduya to Stars: Latest Contract Details, Comments and Reaction

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 15, 2015

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya (27) looks to pass the pucks against the Minnesota Wild during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, April 7, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)
Kamil Krzaczynski/Associated Press

One of the last major chips on the NHL free-agent market finally fell Wednesday, as veteran defenseman Johnny Oduya signed a two-year contract with the Dallas Stars.

The Stars made the signing official with a press release via their website. They did not include the terms of the deal, although ESPN's Pierre LeBrun (h/t TSN's Frank Seravalli) is reporting that the Swedish blueliner will make $3.75 million per season.

Oduya spent each of the past four seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks and won a pair of Stanley Cups along the way. There seemed to be mutual interest between Oduya and the Blackhawks in terms of striking a new deal, but it never came to fruition due to the strain on Chicago's salary cap.

According to Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times, Oduya's agent, Don Meehan, revealed Tuesday that his client would not sign with the Blackhawks. The race to land him reportedly came down to the Stars and the Buffalo Sabres, and the 33-year-old rearguard opted to head south.

Dallas has made some significant improvements this offseason, as it signed goalie Antti Niemi and most notably acquired forward Patrick Sharp from the Blackhawks in a deal that sent defenseman Trevor Daley and forward Ryan Garbutt to Chicago.

In fact, Brian Hedger of NHL.com noted Sharp told Oduya how well the Stars had treated him since he'd arrived. 

Oduya will join his former Blackhawks teammate in Dallas, and Stars general manager Jim Nill is excited about how well the reliable defenseman will fit in, per the team's website.

"Johnny is a steady, veteran presence on the blue line and he'll complement our group nicely," 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."

As Stars announcer Bruce LeVine pointed out, Oduya brings a wealth of big-game experience to the table:

Bruce LeVine @BruceLeVinePuck

Oduya has played 66 Stanley Cup playoff games in his time with CHI averaging more than 20 per game. Knows how to win. Will help young Dmen

In addition to that, NHL.com's Dan Rosen believes he will mesh well with Dallas' roster and style of play, since it is a skilled team much like the Blackhawks:

Dan Rosen @drosennhl

Oduya signs a two year contract with the Stars. It's a perfect fit for him. They skate well, push the pace, and need veteran 'D'.

Oduya isn't much of an offensive threat, as he posted just two goals and 10 points in 76 games last season, but he has had a plus-rating for three straight years and can defend with the best of them.

He is an ideal second-pairing defenseman for a team that is looking to reach the next level, and the Stars certainly have the makings of an organization that is ready to contend in the Western Conference after narrowly missing the playoffs last season.

Dallas also didn't have to invest much as far as years or money, so it is difficult to find a downside to bringing in a player of Oduya's caliber.  

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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