Jordan Oesterle only played in two NHL games last season, but one of them happened to be against the Blackhawks.
It just may have been the hockey gods at work.
“I remember playing against them last year in Edmonton,” Oesterle said recently. “I really liked the way they played. And obviously there’s never really been any holes in the backend. With the opportunity that came this summer, I think it was a perfect fit.”
Oesterle had the Blackhawks in mind entering free agency this offseason after spending three years with the Edmonton Oilers, but he first opened the door to all suitors. There were plenty that came calling too. Twenty teams were interested in signing Oesterle, according to a source.
Oesterle was flattered by all the attention, but he kept on coming back to the opportunity he saw with the Blackhawks. He felt his puck-moving, offensive game fit their style, and there was a chance to crack the lineup with the Blackhawks making some changes in their defense earlier in the offseason with Niklas Hjalmarsson and Trevor van Riemsdyk being traded.
When it was time to decide on a team, the 25-year-old Oesterle chose the Blackhawks and signed a two-year, $1.3 million one-way deal.
“It’s always nice to be wanted by a number of teams,” said Oesterle, who is 6-foot and 182 pounds. “You know this is where I wanted to be, and I’m glad I chose here.”
Oesterle envisioned the Blackhawks having an opening within their final defensemen whether in the sixth, seventh or eighth spot. So far, he’s made a case for one of those openings. As of practice Friday, he was skating with Cody Franson as a fourth pairing. The Blackhawks could keep up to eight defensemen heading into the season opener.
Oesterle signed with the Oilers as a college free agent in 2014. He was hopeful of a full-time opportunity there, but it wasn’t to be with changes in the front office and an untimely injury. Last season, Oesterle produced in the AHL and had seven…