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NHL notes: Oduya re-signs with Blackhawks

Johnny Oduya signed a three-year, $10.125 million deal with the Chicago Blackhawks Tuesday. (AFP)

Johnny Oduya signed a three-year, $10.125 million deal with the Chicago Blackhawks Tuesday. (AFP)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:42 PM ET

Scratch another potential free-agent defenceman off the list.

Johnny Oduya signed a three-year, $10.125 million deal with the Chicago Blackhawks Tuesday, taking him off the free agent market. His new contract works out to a salary cap hit of $3.375 million per year, according to TSN.

Re-signing Oduya, who was acquired from the Winnipeg Jets at the trade dealine last season, was a priority, according to Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman.

"We brought Johnny in to try to solidify things down the stretch here and I think he played a big role in the turnaround of our team," Bowman told the Chicago Tribune. "It was pretty evident that his style of hockey complemented our style. He could have gone anywhere. The fact that he wanted to be back, and he also helped us, and accentuated the things we had here, made it a simple decision for us."

Oduya, 30, had three goals and 15 assists in 81 games with Chicago and Winnipeg.

The Blackhawks also signed veteran forward Jamal Mayers to a one-year, $650,000 contract. Mayers, 37, had six goals and nine assists in 81 games with the 'Hawks.

Chicago inked four prospects -- forward Joakim Nordstrom, defenceman Klas Dahlbeck and goalies Mac Carruth and Kent Simpson -- to three-year, entry-level contracts.

JACKMAN TESTING MARKET?

Sounds like St. Louis Blues Barret Jackman is prepared to see how he fares as an unrestricted free agent.

Especially if he thinks the Blues, the only team he's played for in a 10-year NHL career, plan on cutting back his contributions in 2012-13..

"It's about where you fit within the team," Jackman told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "That's the biggest thing with me going forward, to make sure the Blues aren't doing me a favour by signing me and I'm not doing something out of a comfort level and signing with the Blues if it's not something both sides are happy with."

Jackman, a stay-at-home defender who had one goal and 12 assists in 81 games with the Blues last season, could be forced to take a pay cut if he wants to stay in St. Louis. His cap hit was $3.625 million.

"He's earned this opportunity to be a free agent and I certainly respect that," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong told the Post-Dispatch. "But I hope that we have a chance to sit down and chat about what he believes is important for his family and I hope that correlates with the team."

KHL PLANS U.S. GAMES

The Kontinental Hockey League is coming to North America.

Well, Brooklyn. And it's just a temporary stay.

The KHL is planning to play two regular-season games at the new Barclays Center in the New York borough next season, according to league president Alexander Medvedev. Although nothing is official yet, the games will likely be played during Martin Luther King holiday weekend in January.

"I'm sure these games will sell out," Medvedev told Sovetsky Sport Tuesday, adding that fans will be familiar with the teams that are chosen to play in the games.

The KHL targeted Brooklyn because of it's large Russian population and the Barclays Center is the new home of the NBA's Nets. Russian Mikhail Prokhorov owns the Nets and the arena.

IIHF ELIMINATES BYE

There will no longer be an easier route to the final at the world junior championship.

The IIHF announced changes to the formats for the world junior and under-18 championship tournament Tuesday, including the elimination of the bye into the semifinals for the top finisher in each pool. The changes will go into effect for the 2013 under-18 tourney in April but won't affect next year's world juniors since the schedule for the event in Ufa, Russia, has already been set.

In eliminating the bye system that has been used since 2003, the IIHF has opted to go with a traditional format that will have the top four finishers in each of the two pools play in crossover quarterfinal games. Previously, the top finisher in each pool avoided the quarterfinals.

The bottom two teams in each pool will play a best-of-three series, with the loser being relgated to the Division 1 championship.

The new format will be used for the first time at the world juniors in 2014, when Malma, Sweden hosts the tournament.

BRIEFLY

The Detroit Red Wings signed Finnish forward Teemu Pulkkinen to a three-year, entry-level contract. Pulkkinen was a fourth-round pick in the 2010 draft ... The Toronto Marlies added London Knights forward Greg McKegg to their roster for the AHL final against the Norfolk Admirals. McKegg was called up to replace injured forward Matt Frattin, who is out with a knee injury.


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