Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman made his first big-money signing of the offseason.
It's too bad it was for the wrong guy at the wrong price.
The Blackhawks announced Tuesday that they have re-signed defenseman Johnny Oduya for three more seasons. As reported by ESPNChicago.com's Jesse Rogers, ESPN's Pierre LeBrun is citing a source that places Oduya's cap hit at $3.375 million for the next three years.
I don't care what his value would have been when Oduya hit the free agent market. He isn't worth that to the 'Hawks.
Bowman's move doesn't stun me nearly as much as the price he paid to make it.
Oduya is a solid defenseman but is not the crease-clearer I think the 'Hawks could have really used this summer. For a player who should be playing third-line minutes, Bowman overspent for that slot on the back end.
I took a similar stance as I did last summer when I urged Bowman not to give in to demands from Chris Campoli. At the right price, Oduya could be a nice re-sign.
Three years at over $10 million was not what I had in mind.
Just hours ago, I had Oduya testing the free agent waters unless he took a big pay cut.
With the market hungry for defensemen, I did not believe that would happen. If that was the case, I figured that the 'Hawks would let Oduya walk and sign a more physical player with the $4 million he made this season.
Now, if you believe that Oduya is the answer on the second pairing with Nick Leddy, then you probably think I'm flying off the handle. Despite his ability to handle 20-plus minutes a night, I don't consider that to be the case.
Oduya doesn't solve the need on the second pairing, and now it seems like ponying up cap space to get a player for that job is not as likely as it was yesterday. Let me pause with the Chicken Little act for a moment and speculate on what this could mean for the rest of Bowman's summer.
Steve Montador ended the season with a serious concussion problem. Might the signing of Oduya spell more long-term issues with Montador's health?
If Bowman wants to add a stay-home type on the second line, someone may have to move. Could that be Montador by way of retirement? Is Niklas Hjalmarsson inching toward the trading block?
Is Dylan Olsen headed back to Rockford for more seasoning? Or could Bowman be of the mindset that Oduya is the sole answer to solidifying the blue line?
Unlike Montador, Oduya seems to have the confidence of coach Joel Quenneville, so at the very least he'll be used on the ice. The question will be whether Oduya can effectively handle second-pair duties all season. Bowman may think that he can do just that.
I'm rooting for Oduya but can't help but think that this was an unnecessary gamble. Bowman just used half his available cap space on keeping Oduya in a 'Hawks sweater.
It's a move Bowman needs to have work in his favor.
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