NHL

Blackhawks acquire Johnny Oduya in trade with Stars

The Chicago Blackhawks have acquired defenceman Johnny Oduya from the Dallas Stars in exchange for centre Mark McNeill and a conditional 2018 fourth-round draft pick.

Dallas gets prospect Mark McNeill, conditional 4th-round pick

Defenceman Johnny Oduya, seen above playing for the Dallas Stars, is headed back to Chicago where he won two Stanley Cups. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Chicago Blackhawks are reuniting with veteran defenceman Johnny Oduya, who was part of their last two Stanley Cup championships.

Oduya was traded by the Dallas Stars to the Blackhawks on Tuesday night in exchange for young forward Mark McNeill and a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2018 NHL draft.

After the Blackhawks won their Stanley Cup title in 2015, Oduya left in free agency for a $7.5 million US, two-year contract with Dallas. 

Oduya will be an unrestricted free agent again after this season.

"With the situation of our team, I think it's important for us to get the most assets we can," Stars general manager Jim Nill said. "Johnny's been a great warrior for us...It gives him an opportunity to go to Chicago. They're in the playoffs and for us, it gave us some assets for down the road."

The struggling Stars, who were the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference last season but went into Tuesday night nine points out a playoff spot with 20 games remaining, made their third deal leading up to Wednesday's trade deadline.

Dallas already sent defenceman Jordie Benn, the older brother of Stars captain Jamie Benn, to Montreal on Monday; after dealing forward Patrick Eaves to Anaheim last Friday.

The Blackhawks are second in the Western Conference. They play at home Wednesday against the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, who played at Dallas on Tuesday night.

If Chicago advances to the third round of the playoffs this season, and the 35-year-old Oduya plays in at least half of the games in the first two rounds, the Stars would then get the third-round pick instead of the fourth-round pick in 2018. Dallas also retains half of Oduya's remaining contract.

Oduya first played for Chicago from 2012-15, with nine goals and 34 assists in 219 games. He had five goals and 18 assists in 71 playoff games with the Blackhawks, including their Stanley Cup championships in 2013 and 2015.

A native of Stockholm, Sweden, Oduya has played 783 career NHL games with New Jersey (2006-10), Atlanta/Winnipeg (2010-12), Chicago and Dallas. He had one goal and six assists in 37 games this season with the Stars.

McNeill had six goals and 22 assists in 58 games for Rockford in the AHL, but has played in only one NHL game, for the Blackhawks on Jan. 26, 2016, at Carolina. The 24-year-old forward will report to Texas, the Stars' top development affiliate in the AHL.​

Oduya returned Sunday to play against Boston, his first game in more than a month because of an ankle injury. Nill said that extended absence didn't keep other teams from having interest in Oduya.

"We had all the medical records and he's healthy now. He would have played tonight if he wasn't getting traded, so that wasn't an issue," Nill said. "Teams have been talking to me for quite a while. Even when he was injured, they wanted to know when he was coming back."

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