- Scott Powers, ESPN Staff Writer
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Johnny Oduya, Defenseman
2013-14 cap hit: $3,375,000 | Age: 32 | Season stats: 3 goals, 13 assists, plus-11
Season recap: Oduya, along with Niklas Hjalmarsson, helped to once again form one of the league’s top defensive pairings. The duo was often used against opponents' top line. Oduya’s play did fluctuate more than it did during the Blackhawks' Stanley Cup season, however.
Season highlight: Oduya had a goal and assist and was a plus-2 in a 5-4 double-overtime win over the Los Angeles Kings in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals.
Season lowlight: Overall, the Kings series wasn’t great for Oduya. He was on the ice for 10 goals against in 5-on-5 situations and was a minus-4 for the series.
Final grade: B.
Inside the numbers: Oduya was on the ice for a team-high 50.2 percent of the Blackhawks’ defensive zone starts in the playoffs, according to extraskater.com. That was up from 41.4 percent in the playoffs in 2013.
Notes: Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Oduya suffered an injury in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals and would have been questionable if the Blackhawks advanced.
Quotes: “He defends extremely well, and that’s his forte,” Quenneville of Oduya during the playoffs. “At the same time, I’d like to see him involved in the attack a little more, and maybe having the production to reflect it is a bonus for us. Good play recognition, has good patience with the puck as well. Always had a little offense to his defensive game. We can push that out of him a little more. They get big matchups, big assignments. Defend it first, but sometimes against skill players there are some holes offensively at the other end that maybe you can exploit.”
What’s next: Oduya is signed for another season. He’s expected to be paired with Hjalmarsson again. Oduya won’t likely remain with the Blackhawks beyond next season because of the prospects they have coming up.