Defenseman Johnny Oduya signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the Ottawa Senators on Monday. The contract has games-played, time-on-ice and Stanley Cup Playoff bonuses that could add up to another $1.25 million.
Oduya, who turns 36 on Oct. 1, had nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 52 games for the Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars last season.
The Senators lost defenseman Marc Methot to the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL Expansion Draft on June 21 before he was traded to the Dallas Stars five days later. Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said Oduya potentially could be a replacement for Methot as the primary partner for defenseman Erik Karlsson, but it's too early to tell if that will be the case.
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"Johnny fits in our mix really well as someone who can play up and down the lineup," Dorion said. "He's got experience, something that we like, and at the same time he's someone that will fit in very well with our system. He gives Erik Karlsson the possibility of a partner, but he also gives other guys on our defense crops the possibility of playing with them."
Karlsson had surgery to repair torn tendons in his left foot June 14, and Dorion said that it is unclear if Karlsson will be ready to start the season. The initial timeline for Karlsson's recovery was four months, which would bring him to mid-October.
"We're hopeful [Karlsson] will start off the year, but at the same time we have to protect ourselves because we know a really good start could [push] your team to a really good season," Dorion said. "So this is another reason why we did this."
Karlsson and Oduya played together for Sweden at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and Dorion spoke to Karlsson about signing Oduya before beginning the process.
"Just to make sure they're buddies," Dorion said.
Video: Johnny Oduya's signs one-year deal with the Sens
He added that Karlsson and Oduya had coffee together in Stockholm a few weeks ago and that coach Guy Boucher spoke to Oduya as well when negotiations began.
The addition of Oduya also clouds the status of 20-year-old defenseman prospect Thomas Chabot. Dorion said anything was possible in terms of where Chabot will start the season, and that included him playing for Belleville of the American Hockey League.
"Anything can happen in camp," Dorion said. "There's a chance we carry eight defensemen. There's a chance also we carry seven."
In addition to Karlsson and Oduya, the Senators have five other defensemen on an NHL contract: Dion Phaneuf, Cody Ceci, Mark Borowiecki, Chris Wideman and Fredrik Claesson.
After playing with Chicago from 2012-15 and winning the Stanley Cup twice (2013, 2015), Oduya signed a two-year contract with the Stars on July 15, 2015. He was traded to the Blackhawks on Feb. 28.
Selected in the seventh round (No. 221) of the 2001 NHL Draft by the Washington Capitals, Oduya went unsigned and played in Sweden before being signed by the New Jersey Devils on July 24, 2006. Oduya has 182 points (37 goals, 145 assists) in 798 regular-season games with the Blackhawks, Stars, Devils and Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets.