Over the next five weeks, CSNChicago.com Blackhawks Insider Tracey Myers and PGL host Chris Boden will evaluate the 2011-12 performance of each player on the Hawks roster. One breakdown will occur every weekday in numerical order.
Sean O'Donnell, 40, appeared in 51 games and averaged 13 minutes and 31 seconds of ice time per game. He did not score a goal and finished with seven assists. O'Donnell registered 46 hits, 44 blocked shots and 23 penalty minutes while finishing minus-6. He played in Games 1 and 4 of the playoff series vs. Phoenix, failing to record a point while going minus-3 with one hit and two blocked shots.
Boden's take: ODonnell and the coaching staff found themselves in a Catch-22 situation with the 40-year-old defenseman. They wanted him for depth, and the price (850,000) was right for a veteran of 104 playoff games, including a Stanley Cup. But they also wanted to preserve him from injury so he could be available for what was expected to be a longer postseason run. Whether ODonnells game simply slipped noticeably from his previous 15-plus NHL seasons or he just couldnt get into the right rhythm by suiting up for just 51 games, it didnt work out. You could see what the Hawks were thinking with the move, but the spot duty resulted in spotty play. He was a good voice for the locker room, and became the wise spokesman on more than one occasion even when he wasnt playing regularly. Hes an interesting guy to listen to, always willing to share his thoughts when asked, drawing on an NHL career that began in 1994-95 with the Los Angeles Kings.
Myers' take: Another veteran the Blackhawks hoped would bring depth to the defensemen corps, ODonnell did that for part of the season. Bringing more than 1,000 career games and Cup experience, ODonnell was a great locker-room presence. But on the ice, it looked like the seasons were catching up to ODonnell. Theres no doubting his hockey smarts, but time has slowed him.
Chris: Like another veteran brought in to fill a more regular role up front in Andrew Brunette, ODonnells Blackhawks career will be one-and-done. Their salary cap space will be more limited than a year ago, requiring greater impact in the depth they need to add this time around.
Tracey: Will the 40-year-old ODonnell play another NHL season? Thats uncertain at this point. Either way, it seems unlikely that hell play another game in a Blackhawks uniform. ODonnell is a great ambassador of the game; and if his playing days are over, hed make a great front-office presence for someone.
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Previously: Duncan Keith, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Steve Montador
Up next: Brent Seabrook