(CBS) With the Blackhawks still needing to shave about $2.2 million off their books to get under the salary cap by the start of the regular season, trade rumors are continuing to swirl. Among the names being thrown into the mix is defenseman Johnny Oduya, who downplayed the speculation Thursday prior to Chicago’s trip to Detroit to play a preseason game.
“It’s something you (media) guys like to talk about and spin your head around and whatever different possibilities or not,” Oduya told the Chicago Sun-Times. “I think for us and for me too I can only focus on what I’m doing. I think it’s completely out of my hands what’s going to happen or not. I realize this is the nature of the game and the business we’re in.
“I’ve been in situations like this before, so for me trying to focus on what I’m doing and today’s a game, so that’s what I’m focusing on today.”
Oduya’s been involved in trade rumors for a couple reasons. One, he’s a quality defenseman who’s been quite durable in recent seasons. Two, he comes with a $3.375 million cap hit, per capgeek.com, which is enough to get the Blackhawks in the clear and still have some wiggle room.
The 32-year-old Oduya also has just one year left on his contract, so he won’t be tying anyone’s books up long into the future.
“I’m very happy being here, (but) it’s the reality of what we do and I think (worrying) about it too much, I think that’s just going to make it worse,” Oduya said of trade rumors. “I can’t really affect what’s going on or not.
“For me, it’s just trying to get ready, trying to get in as good shape as possible and work as hard as I can. I think that’s the only thing I can do.”
Oduya most often teams with Niklas Hjalmarsson as the Blackhawks’ second defensive pairing.
He’s not the only Blackhawk dealing with trade rumors, of course. Chicago’s front office has told other organizations that 23-year-old defenseman Nick Leddy is available, TSN’s Bob McKenzie has reported, though the Blackhawks apparently would like to ship winger Kris Versteeg out in any Leddy deal, too. Leddy carries a $2.7 million cap hit this season.