A veteran of over 850 games in the National Hockey League has seemingly confirmed to European media that he may have played is final game in the NHL.
According to a new report from Swedish website Hockey Sverige 36 year old veteran defenseman Johnny Oduya has indicated that he may be done in the NHL after failing to secure a contract for the 2018 - 2019 National Hockey League regular season. That however does not sound like it will be the end of his professional career as a hockey player because Oduya has also hinted at the fact that he may intend to continue to play overseas.
"Something in Europe maybe," said the long time NHL defenseman over the week-end.
Oduya is coming off a pretty terrible season both professionally and personally although it's difficult to gauge how much of the blame for that should be place on Oduya's shoulders and how much of it belongs on the shoulders of the organization he was playing for. Oduya spent the 2017 - 2018 season as a member of the Ottawa Senators' organization and in spite of the fact that they had reached the Eastern Conference Final one year prior the Senators quickly transformed into the most dysfunctional organization in all of hockey.
As a result the play of every player on the Senators roster appeared to suffer and their statistics went right along with them on the downward spiral. Oduya would appear in a total of 551 games for the Senators during the regular season recording 4 goals and 4 assists for a total of 8 points and a plus minus rating of +2. His plus minus is significant if only due to the fact that the Senators were largely being dominated on a nightly basis during his time there.
Oduya would however eventually land on the Philadelphia Flyers roster in February after the Senators attempted to move Oduya down to the American Hockey League through the waiver process. The Flyers would pick up the blue line veteran but he only ended up appearing in a single regular season game for the organization and now finds himself without an NHL contract and seemingly without any offers from any of the teams around the league. This is a particularly damning indictment of Oduya's diminished skill set as even a team like the Edmonton Oilers, who unexpectedly lost veteran defemsena Andrej Sekera to a very serious injury in training, did not feel it was worth extending Oduya an offer as a potential replacement for Sekara.
In spite of what has to feel like the low point of his professional career at this point Oduya can hold his head high if this is indeed the end for him in the National Hockey League. Oduya a former Washington Capitals 7th round draft choice, far exceeded expectations by appearing in a whopping 850 career NHL games. That is a gigantic number for a 7th rounder and he added 41 goals and 149 assists for a total of 190 NHL points on top of that.
Most of all however he will be remembered for the two Stanley Cup championships that he captured as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks organization. We wish him all the best moving forward.
Photo Credit: Andrew Nelles/Bildbyran/Zuma