Both Ed and I had planned to get this to you before Johnny Oduya suited up in a game, but his schedule dealing with the trade deadline and a game that same night kept him from getting back to me at lightening speed. I know, how dare him focus on his beat writer job for a team currently fighting for a playoff spot.

Ed Tait of the Winnipeg Free Press again was gracious enough to take time out to help us get a look into Oduya’s time in Winnipeg. He played his first game with the Blackhawks last night after Stan Bowman sent a second- and third-round pick for the upcoming unrestricted free agent at Monday’s deadline, playing nearly 20 minutes.

Here’s Oduya’s career breakdown:

Shortly after sending my his answers while I was sitting in my seat at the UC, Ed sent me an email saying, “Ouch. Looks like Oduya was a -3 in that period.” Luckily, it got better.

Here’s what Ed had to say, and thanks again to him for taking the time…

Bartl: Everyone in Chicago was hoping for a big splash, but the consensus among GMs seemed to be it was a sellers market with high prices. What can Oduya bring to the Blackhawks that they currently lack? What are his main strengths?

Tait: Johnny Oduya isn’t going to be a candidate for the Three Stars of the Night, but he is a solid third-pairing defenceman. He got a bit of a bad rap early here in Winnipeg as he had two glaring turnovers – Claude Noel calls them ‘Free pizzas’ – in the very first game, a 5-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens.

He’s not physical, but he is an excellent skater and a solid passer. Again, nothing flashy to his game, but his mobility is a real asset

Bartl: My concern in acquiring a defenseman who logs decent minutes from a team fighting for the playoffs is that he became expendable with his former team for one reason or another. Why was Winnipeg willing to part with Oduya at this point in the season?

Tait: The Jets liked Oduya, but he’s making $3.5 million and is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent this summer. The Jets aren’t overloaded with talent, but they had eight defencemen with the big club before moving him and like both Randy Jones and Mark Flood. The waiver claim of Grant Clitsome also made Oduya expendable – he’s younger and cheaper with essentially the same skillset.

Winnipeg also has three prospects with St. John’s they figure are close to being NHL ready: Paul Postma, Zach Redmond and Arturs Kulda.

Bartl: With all that said, do you believe he’s going to make a difference for the ‘Hawks, given what they need at this point?

Tait: I wouldn’t call Oduya a difference maker, but he does give them depth. And every coach/GM will insist you can never have too many defencemen, especially in a playoff run.