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Player Evaluation: Johnny Oduya
I’ll admit it. I wasn’t happy to see Bowman waste a 2nd round pick on a defenseman who would more than likely not be around after July 1st. I also wasn’t happy to see Oduya signed to a 3 year deal worth 3.3 million dollars. But after watching how the league was tossing more money at defensemen who are about the same skill wise, if not less, I don’t feel as bad. I would feel even better if Hjalmarsson was gone or season tickets would be cheaper, but I guess you can’t always get what you want. Compared to other players of equal skill level, this is pretty much a steal (Jason Garrison is at 4.6 million, Ron Hainsey is at 4.5 million, Fedor Tyutin is at 4.5 million a season as well).
Now, where in the Hawks lineup does Oduya fit? Well, you currently have Seabs and Keith as your first pairing defenseman, but after that it’s really anyone’s guess. Oduya in my opinion fits nicely with a player such as Nick Leddy on your 2nd pairing. Oduya’s game again is not flashy and he is someone you don’t have to worry about being a defensive liability. He plays a solid North American style of play and can take away some minutes from Seabs and Keith on the penalty kill. He essentially your middle or bottom pairing defensemen that plays a bland style that you are okay with. (Can’t be any worse than O’Donnell am I right…anybody?)
Statistically Oduya isn’t going to blow you away as he isn’t that type of player. Honestly, he’s pretty much a replica of Hjalmarsson, except in my opinion, he has a bit more hockey sense and is more physical. For a team that is lacking in the physical department on the back end, every bit helps. I wouldn’t say he’s a huge hitter, but he’s willing to try and separate his man from the puck.
Again, this was a tough one to write as there isn’t much in his game to really rave or bash which I’m okay with as we need more dependable players on the backend.
PREDICTION: 82 GAMES | 4 GOALS | 21 ASSISTS | 25 POINTS | PLUS-8
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