CHICAGO – The Chicago Blackhawks shuffling their defence Monday, picking up veteran Johnny Oduya from the Winnipeg Jets and sending John Scott to the New York Rangers.
Oduya was acquired for a second-round and a third-round pick next year. Chicago took a fifth-round pick in this year’s draft from the Rangers in exchange for Scott, just before the trade deadline.
The 30-year-old Oduya has two goals and 11 assists in 63 games for the Jets this season. He is in the last year of a four-year contract that pays him $4 million and he will be an unrestricted free agent after the season.
“His style really fits in with us,” Chicago general manager Stan Bowman said. “He’ll eat up minutes for us on defence.”
Chicago, which has lost three straight, has been stretched thin on defence by injuries to Steve Montador and Niklas Hjalmarsson. Scott had been playing but ineffective in moving the puck.
“We knew we had to add experience on the back end,” he said.
The Blackhawks, 4-11-1 in their last 16 games, have gone from first in the NHL to sixth in the Western Conference in the last five weeks.
Oduya was acquired from New Jersey by the Jets franchise, then located in Atlanta, a year ago. He was drafted by Washington in the seventh round in 2001. He is expected to make his debut with the Blackhawks when they host Toronto on Wednesday night.
“You’re excited and a little bit let down at the same time,” Oduya told Canadian network TSN. “It’s a good thing for everybody, I think. Hopefully, some of the guys will be sad to see me go, but you never know.”
Bowman said he talked with several NHL teams, but couldn’t make any other deals because the standings are so tight.
“More teams are in the mix (to make the playoffs), so there are not as many sellers,” Bowman said. “We saw a lot of teams just pull back. We were open to anything.”
Scott had one assist in 29 games for the Blackhawks, with 48 penalty minutes.