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Catching up with... Johnny Oduya

by Staff Writer / New Jersey Devils

Oduya set career highs in goals, assists and points in 2007-08.

email – After taking major strides in his sophomore season, Johnny Oduya is primed to develop into an important part of the Devils' blueline in 2008-09.

Oduya showcased his skating skills to set up this goal by Patrik Elias.
The Stockholm native improved offensively with a career-high six goals and 20 assists in 2007-08, finishing second among Devils defensemen in scoring. His plus-27 rating led the club.

Oduya was selected with Washington's sixth choice in the 2001 Entry Draft, then signed as a free agent by the Devils in July of 2006. He went on to collect two goals and nine assists in 76 appearances during 2006-07.

Oduya may be best known for scoring one of the highlight goals of the Devils' first season at Prudential Center with his end-to-end rush against Carolina on Feb. 9 [ 700K]. recently caught up with Oduya from his offseason home near Stockholm.

Oduya: Like most of the guys, I spend a lot of my offseason traveling, and with friends and family. During the summer you try to make time for the people you don't get to see much of during the season.

My summer home is about two hours from Stockholm, and that lets me plan short trips around Sweden and Europe. In July, I spent 10 days in Portugal. I really like traveling, and it's something I wish I could do more often. 

Stockholm is the capital of Sweden, and a fairly big city with a lot of old architecture and history. There's a lot of access to water, which is great for boating. Hockey's not as big in Stockholm as it is in some of Sweden's smaller cities and towns, so I get around the city without being recognized too much.

I went to a Jay-Z concert when he came to Stockholm in June and had a great time. I like going to the movies, but they're harder to keep up with here because they come out a few months later in Sweden than they do in the U.S. I've already seen most of the movies that are playing here now.

I started out this summer working out twice a day on my own. Now that it's August, I've been skating with about 10-15 NHL players that spend the offseason in the Stockholm area.

I think most guys are excited about getting to training camp, and I think having it at Prudential Center will be great. The more time you spend at an arena, the more you feel at home. The facility is first-class, which makes it a fun place to be.

We'll have Brian Rolston and Bobby Holik in New Jersey this year, which is exciting. They're both great players with a lot of experience, and you can never have too much of that. Plus, they've played for the Devils before and know the organization.

I think that makes it a perfect fit.

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