The lone addition Stan Bowman and the Blackhawks made before Monday’s 2pm central trade deadline was mobile defenseman Johnny Oduya.
Oduya, 30, comes to the Hawks from the Winnipeg Jets at the price of a 2nd and 3rd round draft choice in the 2013 NHL Draft. He is an unrestricted free agent this summer.
The six-foot 190 pound Stockholm native was playing third pair minutes in Winnipeg averaging 19 minutes per game. In 63 games played, Oduya had 2 goals, 11 assists and was a minus-9.
Oduya’s biggest asset is his skating. His addition and impact on the Blackhawks will be strikingly similar to how Chris Campoli fit in after he was acquired at last season’s trade deadline. Campoli’s addition was regarded as underwhelming at the time, but he did skate some big minutes for the Hawks.
In many ways, Oduya is a broke man’s Brian Campbell. He skates well with the puck, accelerates when turning and makes a decent first pass. In the defensive zone, Oduya uses his upper body strength to battle forecheckers and around the front of his goal.
This season Oduya was on the second pairing of the Jets’ 23rd rank penalty kill. Last year he was on the first unit so for whatever reason the Jets’ new staff, under head coach Claude Noel, pulled back Oduya’s responsibilities in that role.
The Blackhawks now own three of the assets the Atlanta Thrashers received in the Ilya Kovalchuk trade. Prior to the 2010 Draft, the Blackhawks got the 1st round and second round draft picks the Thrashers’ received in the Kovalchuk deal as part of the compensation in the deal that sent Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel and Ben Eager to Atlanta. Stan Bowman used that selection (24th overall) to pick Boston College center Kevin Hayes, the younger brother of Jimmy Hayes, who Bowman acquired from Toronto in a separate trade the day after picking Kevin. Bowman used the other pick to select defenseman Justin Holl in the second round at 54th overall. The 6-3, 196 pound blue liner out of Tonka Bay, Minnesota is in his sophomore season currently with the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Oduya’s late father George was Kenyan and his mother Birgitta Swedish. He was born in Stockholm, Sweden and has played for the National team on several occasions. His full name is David Johnny Oduya.
Johnny’s older brother Fredrik, who was drafted by the San Jose Sharks in the 6th round of the 1993 Entry Draft, passed away last summer in Austria after a motorcycle wreck.
Fredrik never played in a NHL game. He was primarily an enforcer. Johnny was following in his brother’s footsteps early on in his career but backed off when his skills developed. Fredrik was the same size as Brandon Bollig when he played. He came up and was drafted out of the Ontario Hockey League, then skated for teams in the since folded IHL and American Hockey League from 1995-2000. Fredrik retired for several years before playing for in Europe for a few seasons. He retired in 2007.
SCOTT DEALT TO NEW YORK FOR 5th ROUNDER
Stan Bowman took 6-8 swingman John Scott off Joel Quenneville’s hands on Monday, dealing Scott to the New York Rangers for a 5th pick in the 2012 Entry Draft.
The Oduya and Scott moves were the only two deals Stan Bowman made on Monday before the trade deadline passed.
BOLLIG TO MAKE NHL DEBUT
Making his NHL debut tonight for the Blackhawks wearing number 52 is St. Louis native and former St. Lawrence University product Brandon Bollig.
Bollig has improved greatly over the past year. He has been a key member of the IceHogs penalty kill for much of the season, a unit that has been rock solid in preventing goals against for the past two months. He is a fourth liner by trade, so don’t expect too much. Bollig is an enforcer but he can skate a regular shift on the fourth line and chip in a goal now and then as well. He’s a good skater and plays tough in all areas on the ice.
Ted Dent has shown an increasing level of confidence in Bollig as this season has come along.
“He gets his chances through hard work,” Dent said. “He has a great release and a great snap shot and he’s playing well.”
Dent agrees with the assessment that Bollig has been one of the most improved IceHogs of those who returned from the 2010-11 season.
“From last year to this year, from the guys that came back, yeah. He’s really come into his own. He’s playing with confidence, and not just the fighting aspect. Now, we use him on the penalty kill and in the shootouts.”
Bollig snapped a string of 20 games without a goal when he chipped in a late goal on Saturday night against Milwaukee to tie the game and send it to overtime. The IceHogs eventually won the game in a shootout. Bollig was selected by Dent to go first in the shootout but his chance was thwarted. Bollig did convert in a shootout back in Charlotte on January 26th.
He’s been getting a lot of chances, as Dent mentioned, through hard work and Bollig hopes Saturday night’s goal is sign of things to come.
”I sure hope so,” Bollig said after Saturday night’s 2-1 shootout win over Milwaukee. “That’s obviously not my role, but it feels good to chip one in and hopefully this opens the floodgates for me.”
Andrew Shaw was recalled on Monday.
The Blackhawks held an internal scouting review of their prospects in Rockford this past weekend. Bollig and Shaw got the recalls.
Since being sent back to the Rockford IceHogs on February 17th, Andrew Shaw has played 5 games. He’s been held goalless in those five contests with two assists. He was also a minus-2 with 7 shots on goal.
Shaw will play on the third line tonight with Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland.
Bollig will skate on the left wing with Jamal Mayers and Jimmy Hayes.
Shaw and Bollig will dress in place of Michael Frolik and Brendan Morrison in the Blackhawks lineup. Patrick Kane will center the top line in Jonathan Toews’ continued absence in dealing with whatever upper body ailment he’s suffering with.
Puck drop tonight versus the Toronto Maple Leafs is 7pm. The Blackhawks will wear their white sweaters since the Maple Leafs will be sporting their blue 3rd sweaters for this game.