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Devils re-sign Oduya

Tuesday, 06.30.2009 / 1:01 PM / 2009 NHL Offseason News

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Johnny Oduya came within hours of testing his value on the open market, but the Swedish born defensemen decided New Jersey still fits him perfectly.

Tuesday, Oduya signed a multi-year contract reportedly worth between $3 million and $3.5 million per season to remain with the Devils, the only team he has played for in his three year NHL career.

Had Oduya remained unsigned, he would have become an unrestricted free agent Wednesday.

"We are delighted to have Johnny Oduya stay with the organization," Devils General Manager Lou Lamoriello said in a statement. "He has developed into one of the more talented young defensemen in the National Hockey League."

The slick-skating Oduya played in all 82 games and seven postseason games in 2008-09, posting career highs in goals (7), assists (22) and points (29) during the regular season. He was a plus-21 while playing a lot of the season paired with Paul Martin.

Oduya, 27, was initially drafted in the seventh round of the 2001 draft, 221st overall, by the Washington Capitals. He stayed in Sweden until 2006 when he signed as a free agent with the Devils.

In three seasons, he has played in 233 games and has 66 points on 15 goals and 51 assists. He has become a core blueliner for the Devils along with Martin, Colin White, Bryce Salvador and Mike Mottau.

Oduya could be in line for his biggest year yet. Not only is he buoyed by a new contract, if he has a strong first-half he could potentially make Sweden's roster for the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver. The Swedes are the defending gold medalists.

Contact Dan Rosen at drosen@nhl.com

Playing for my favorite team growing up, I've probably scored that goal a million times in my driveway. It feels good to actually do it in real life.

— Dale Weise, who grew up a Canadiens fan, on scoring the overtime winner in Montreal's 5-4 victory against Tampa Bay in Game 1