Flyers claim Oduya off waivers but make no trades at deadline

Johnny Oduya

MONTREAL – Having already traded for a front-line goaltender in Petr Mrazek last week, the Flyers were predictably quiet at Monday’s 3 p.m. NHL trade deadline.

General manager Ron Hextall did claim veteran defenseman Johnny Oduya off waivers from the Ottawa Senators, but aside from that, he stayed pat.

The 36-year-old Oduya, who is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, probably will take over the No. 7 defense spot left vacant when Mark Alt was claimed off waivers by the Colorado Avalanche.

“We like Johnny, we like the playoff experience,’’ Hextall said during a press conference at the Skate Zone in Voorhees, N.J.

“We felt like it really added to our depth on defense. We’re excited about that acquisition. We were hoping to keep Mark. He was a good depth player, great kid, has done a good job for us this year. But the rules are in place for a reason, so good for Mark. We’re happy for him.’’

Oduya, a native of Sweden, has a championship pedigree, having played with Chicago on two Stanley Cup winners.

He carries a $1 million cap hit and is a pending unrestricted free agent.

In 51 games, he has four goals, four assists for eight points with 32 penalty minutes.

In addition to the Blackhawks, Oduya has played with the New Jersey Devils, Atlanta Thrashers, Winnipeg Jets and Dallas Stars.

For his career he has registered 41 goals and 149 assists for 190 points.

Oduya is known as a stay at home defenseman and has been a frequent partner of Erik Karlsson, who was rumored to be traded from Ottawa but was not moved on Monday.

There is up to to $1 million in performance bonuses written into his contract, including games played, making the playoffs and ice time.

Hextall said he might have been tempted to make a trade but has said all along he wasn’t going to overpay for a “rental.’’

Besides, his team is clicking along, with points in 11 straight games (9-0-2) heading into Monday night’s game at Montreal.

“You’ve got a chemistry in your room, so to make a deal, it’s got to be the right player, it’s got to be the right price, and it’s got to be a clear upgrade,’’ Hextall said. “Otherwise you’re affecting the chemistry in your room.  So for a number of reasons, we had some conversations, but nothing made sense for us.’’

Landing someone like Karlsson might have broken the piggy bank.

“This is the deadline,’’ Hextall said. “This is a dangerous time. It’s an emotional time for all of us and you’ve got to really think things through clearly. To do something because someone else did something, that’s not how I operate. I’m looking out for our hockey club, we’re not going to make emotional decisions. We’re going to make well-thought-out decisions.’’

There had been rumors of a possible trade involving the Flyers’ Wayne Simmonds a few weeks ago, but then the Flyers got hot and Simmonds got injured, so that was quickly off the table.

Hextall is not looking for any quick improvements.

“I don’t mind making a move now, but to overpay for a rental, for us, it hasn’t worked in the past if you look at the percentages,’’ he said. “So we weren’t going to do that.  If something came that made sense and the price was tolerable… we looked at a couple things.’’

The GM sounds comfortable going into the playoffs with the defense already in place. He just added Oduya for insurance.

“We felt on defense we were a little bit concerned about our depth. In saying that, right now if you look at our D, obviously Travis (Sanheim) was up for a big part of the year. He’s played extremely well in Lehigh Valley.

“So we’ve got Johnny, we’ve got Travis, we’ve got a couple more guys down there who can play. So we’re more comfortable with our depth than we did prior to today. You look up front, we’ve got Simmer (Simmonds) coming back, and Oskar (Lindblom) has done a nice job for us. So if we’re going to add a piece, he’s got to be better than some of the players we have in Lehigh, and again the price has got to be right. As expected, it wasn’t.’’

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About Wayne Fish 2451 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.

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