Oduya would arguably be the best defensemen on the team. Why would you pay him a decent salary to get him and then play him on the 3rd pair? And people want LL fired.
Oduya is in the same tier as Greene, Larsson, and Severson. And the defensive pairings aren't fixed where one plays drastically less time. The whole point of bringing in Oduya is to have 3 competent pairings. We aren't a team that plays its first pairing almost 30 minutes a night.
Aside from the obvious resignings (Larsson, Matteau, etc.) and let them walk (Salvador, Ryder, Havlat, etc) I'd like to see this:
1. Trade/Free agency --> move some combo of Gelinas/Merrill + 2nd (both if needed) + any prospect (if the trade is worthy enough I'd be OK with trading someone like Santini. Although it would need to make a lot of sense longterm). Ideally, when its all said and done working the trade market gets NJ a top 6 forward. In the free agent market it is slim pickings and NJ can't afford to sign fillers and keep Boucher/Matteau waiting for no reason. So if a good signing is there do it but no more Ryder/Havlat experiments. With one of Merrill/Gelinas traded signing a familiar guy like Oduya will solidify the backend. NJ seems pretty high on Helgeson/Hrabarenka so one will probably gain a spot. Harrold is good insurance.
2. Draft --> pretty simple here, draft Marner/Barzal. Pick up a Bracco/Korostelev/etc. in the 2nd with the other pick that isn't used in a trade.
3. Outside the NHL acquisition? - Guys like Panarin/Tikhonov are unlikely to come here but wouldn't mind if NJ aggressively pursued a overseas guy.
4. Bottom 6 decisions --> It more than likely Zubrus and Ruutu are here to stay. Josefson also has a spot. Bernier deserves to resign. Gionta + Tootoo are question marks.
Ideally you add another top 6 but its always hard to add 2 top 6 forwards in one offseason. When its all said and done the major changes are a new top 6 forward, Oduya/vet D brought in, Matteau and Boucher full time, and Helgeson a rookie.
Thats a realistic possibility. At best a bubble team, but thats the reality of the situation.