Swedish defenseman Johnny Oduya was a solid, dependable defenseman with the New Jersey Devils for a couple of seasons before he was made a part of the massive Ilya Kovalchuk deal between New Jersey and the Atlanta Thrashers in 2010.
Oduya went on to spend three seasons with the franchise and was a member of the inaugural Winnipeg Jets 2.0 roster for 2011-12. As he prepared for the upcoming season, like so many players at that time he was hopeful that the fast, young Jets could draw upon their experience from the previous season in Atlanta where there was hope for a playoff push that they fell just short on before moving north.
A middle pairing D-man for the Jets, Oduya was never known as a player who could generate a whole bunch of offense from the back end even though he had shown flashes of such in Jersey. Under Claude Noel’s system, he was leaned on more as a defensive minded player. Oduya scored all of two goals for the Winnipeg Jets in the one season he played for them, and half of those goals are on YouTube thanks to one of them being an overtime winner against the Buffalo Sabres.
He also wasn’t much of a fighter, but he also wouldn’t put up with any BS on the ice even if it meant squaring off against a friend and former teammate.
After three seasons with the Devils where he was a part of playoff hockey each time, he ended up missing out on postseason play with the Thrashers and was about to again with Winnipeg before the Jets traded him to Chicago in a deadline deal that saw him traded for a couple of draft picks that ended up turning into Zachary Sanford and J.C. Lipon.
Oduya went on to win a couple of Stanley Cups with the Blackhawks, playing a key role in each of their Cup wins – so much so that even NBC Sports Chicago had him as part of their All-Decade team – before being traded to Dallas, willingly choosing to sign as a free agent with the Ottawa Senators (to be fair, the Sens weren’t half bad at the time) and then getting in a single game with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2017-18 before retiring after a solid 12 year NHL career.