Since entering the NHL in 1995, Sean O'Donnell has used his 6'3", 225lbs. effectively as a stay-at-home defenceman.
A native of Ottawa, Ontario, O'Donnell played junior with the OHL's Sudbury Wolves. He was taken 123rd overall by the Buffalo Sabres at the 1991 NHL Entry Draft and was strictly a farmhand for three years. Prior to the lockout-shortened season, O'Donnell was traded to the Los Angeles Kings for Doug Houda.
The rugged blueliner was a solid addition to the Kings defence. He played a physical role on the team as it improved and made the playoffs in 1998. O'Donnell was a steady worker and physical presence through the 1999-00 season before he was claimed by the expansion Minnesota Wild. He scored 16 points and was team leader from the blueline as the first year club competed well most nights.
O'Donnell's solid year for the Wild made him a desirable commodity as contending teams re-tooled at the March trade deadline. He was acquired by the defending Stanley Cup champion New Jersey Devils on March 4, 2001 and immediately fit into Larry Robinson's system that combined quick puck movement and close checking. After only eight career playoff games, O'Donnell played 23 post-season contests for the Devils as they reached the finals before losing to the Colorado Avalanche. The experienced defender was signed by the Boston Bruins a month after the season ended to provide experience and a physical presence on the club as it tried to improve on its disappointing season in 2000-01.
In his first year with the Bruins, O'Donnell established a career high in assists with 22 and points with 25 and during the 2002-03 season surpassed the 600 games played plateau. The robuste defenseman went on to play three seasons with Boston before signing as a free-agent with the Phoenix Coyotes in the summer of 2004.
Following a lock-out year in 2004-05, O'Donnell went on to make his debut with the Coyotes during the 2005-06 season before having his rights acquired by the Anaheim Mighty Ducks at the 2006 NHL trading deadline. He appeared in 79 games in the 2006-07 season and all 21 postseason contests en route his first Stanley Cup championship.
O'Donnell spent a second straight season in Anaheim before the club opted to deal the former Minnesota Wild captain to the Los Angeles Kings.
On July 1, 2010, the big defender left the west coast, signing as an unrestricted free agent with the Philadelphia Flyers.
After just one season in Philadelphia in which he scored a goal and added 17 assists in a largely defensive role, O'Donnell was on the move again. On July 1, 2011, he inked a deal with the Chicago Blackhawks.