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Johnny Oduya heads back to Blackhawks in trade with Dallas Stars, per reports

Chicago gets some defensive depth in time for the playoffs.

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Two years after poaching two veterans from the Chicago Blackhawks, the Dallas Stars are sending one of them back via trade.

The Stars sent defenseman Johnny Oduya back to Chicago on Tuesday, receiving prospect Mark McNeil and a conditional fourth round pick in return from their division rivals.

The fourth round pick can become a third round pick if the Blackhawks meet playoff advancement requirements.

Dallas retains 50 percent of Oduya’s salary.

Oduya, 35, is an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Chicago had to send McNeill back in a trade to fit Oduya’s current $3.75 million salary under their cap. Oduya, like most of the Stars, is not having his best season. He’s been beleaguered by injuries lately and has under-performed in the final year of his contract. But he’s a veteran capable of decent depth in a playoff run.

McNeill, 24, seemed out of options in Chicago. The 18th overall pick in the 2011 draft has only appeared in one NHL game despite putting up decent numbers in the AHL. Here’s our Blackhawks blog’s take on him earlier this year:

Not only was McNeill unable to earn a spot on the Hawks’ roster out of training camp, but his stock has dipped to the point that the other 29 teams weren’t interested in taking a flier with practically zero risk.

That’s where McNeill is at — on the fringe, passed over once again, this time in favor of younger, less experienced players like Nick Schmaltz, Tyler Motte, Vincent Hinostroza and Ryan Hartman. The problem for McNeill, though, is that it’s been hard to argue he’s better than any of them.